Yet…I will Celebrate in the Lord!

Praise Him! First, and most importantly, I will praise Jesus for dying for me, giving life, and taking the punishment I deserved so that eternal life is secured! There will be a wonderful reunion, one day, and that is because of Jesus! Praise Him for the years I had with Jana. Every night I thank…

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…

Importance of the Beginning

I have reflected often on our early days of dating and marriage. In a relationship, those memories and moments are almost sacred to the couple. It is the beginning of a lifelong commitment and love. My personal memories are no different…the structure we built, with Christ as our foundation, was constructed with these early, cherished…

Graduation.

We often just talked. Maybe just before dinner, after our day of work, or right after the family had sat down to eat together, we may have relaxed in the living room and visited on the couch. The rattle and clink of pans and silverware were heard from the kitchen as the kids performed their…

Joy in the Mourning

I am emotionally skipping across the bottom… So, I found it fitting to write about joy! Why not? Count your many blessings, name them one by one… Even in the darkness of my grief and confusion with life, there are things to find joy in. Here are a few… Family and Friends. I constantly find…

Finish the Race

Since Jana died, I have thought a lot about what happens after a person’s life is over on earth. I have thought about what she experienced, what it may have looked like, and how she made that transition directly into Jesus’ care. The fact that my best friend made this journey gives me encouragement for…

All Aboard!

My steam engine of grief, which always seems completely filled with fuel, continues to take me along the highs and lows of this journey. As I approach significant milestones, it seems the grief begins to “ramp up” prior to the date. The engine goes into overdrive and picks up speed. Six months without Jana was…

“Why” is Too Complicated

One of the biggest moments of my hobby/interest life occurred this week. The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl. I have been watching, rooting, and hopeful for many years, and this week I was able to enjoy the pinnacle of the 2019 NFL season with my team. But…Jana is not here. This is my…

Lovely Decisions

What prompts me to whisper, “Good night,” to her empty space in my bed each night? Why do I bury my face in one of her t-shirts and try to catch her scent one more time? What is it that makes me cry when somebody lets me know how much they miss her? Love. We’re…

Give Again

Serving. I have suggested that a sign of moving out of grief is when one begins to think more of others. Grief is consuming and very self-oriented. Grief gets us back to a place emotionally where we can interact with our world again. Now, my interest in serving others is taking up more of my…

An Actual Laugh?

Yesterday, I recalled a memory of Jana that made me…laugh. It was a humorous memory, so laughing was appropriate, but the fact that I laughed caught me by surprise. I liked that. When I set out to work hard on my grief, I knew I would see signposts of progress along the way. One of…

Good and Perfect Gifts

Let me be clear, I deserve nothing. There is nothing that I have done, or that is inherently special about me that God should be compelled to give me anything. There is nothing that I have gone through that would warrant God’s kindness to me. But, in His grace, He chooses to give good things…

Challenge of Living

The challenge, each day, is to live life. The grief path has been a series of challenges, which I have done my best to face head-on. Most of these hurdles have been natural and progressive in nature. Basically, I tackle the next thing that comes up. I will have more of these, and I kind…

My Un-addressed Letters

“Jana, you would love this.” “Oh, Jana, let me tell you about that!” So many times, I have found myself wanting to share part of my life with her. I carefully write out my thoughts, fold the paper in thirds, place it in the envelope, put a stamp in the corner…but, it remains unsent. It…

Permission to be Happy

Several months ago, near to the time that Jana died, my pastor imparted a bit of wisdom. He told me to allow myself to feel happy. I could understand what he said, but, lately, I am wrestling with the concept. Early on, I had no desire or capacity for feeling happy. Nothing reached past my…

“I Like Me”

Today I miss warming up next to Jana. Snuggling under a blanket, watching a movie, or visiting. It’s freezing cold outside and my heart feels like it’s matching the weather in temperature. My love is not here. I’m trying… I’m trying to make friends – and I have met some great people. I’m trying to…

Divine Appointments Abound

I cannot over-emphasize the meaningful ministry of friends and family who have supported me in the last 4 months. There are days that, without the selfless care of others, I feel that I would have fallen to pieces. Praise the Lord for His people! We have all heard of those moments when God prompts another…

Riding Upward Again

A little breakdown, a short time to vent…then back on the trail. The emotions rise and fall like a Ferris wheel, up – then down, up – then down. And, sometimes the wheel stops at a point, either high or low or somewhere more even…then, eventually, the carney with the hairy arms, bushy eyebrows, and…

Signposts of Success

My walk through grief is continuous. Every so often, I see a signpost that informs me of my progress. Most frequently the message gets to me through something that I say in conversation. After speaking the words, I pause and think about what I have said and realize that I’ve taken some kind of step….

In The Next Hour…

It’s about 6:30 pm where I sit. In about an hour and 20 minutes, it will have been three months since Jana breathed her last. What a difficult journey the last days and weeks have been. I have never felt the ways in which I have felt in the wake of her death. From the…

The MISS Scale

Ok…so, Christmas is on at our home. The tree is up, boxes are everywhere, and tinsel is already getting stuck to the bottoms of my feet. It’s nice… After reflecting on whether or not I was emotional about the decorations (which kind of tells the story…I wasn’t sad because I had to think about it)…

The “Up” Side to Grief

Moving on, getting over it, progressing, changing, getting better, feeling good, accepting, growth, new life… People package working through the grief process in a lot of different ways. Any way you slice it, it’s tough! I am not the same person that I was August 6th, the day before Jana died. And, I am not…

Sleeping and Influence

It’s 4am-ish, and I’m up thinking… One of those times when all the thoughts seem to converge and keep me up. I’m thinking about my business, money, bills, and…Jana. I miss her presence. Lying next to me, especially on nights like this, when I can’t sleep. I would look at her for just a few…

Safe At Home

It’s about to snow for the first time this season. The first accumulating snow, the kind that makes driving difficult. The worries of family and friends getting home safe are just around the corner! When you’re waiting on a loved one to get home, nerves can get the best of you. Those worrisome thoughts creep…

Even the Little Things

My memories of Jana are countless. When I consider all the little things…the shared moments that nobody else was necessarily a part of. I am conscious of the things she liked, the events we laughed at, and the little physical problems we all encounter. So many things, that only I know… As I move along…

Fulfilled

It’s so quiet. Our home was never a “loud” place. But, there was always a good deal of laughter and horsing around. Even just conversation would fill the air. There is still a bit of chatter and sounds of people doing their thing, but it feels quieter. I am involved in a more solitary life….

Look Out Bambi

I’m getting busy. My hobbies and interests are re-awakening in my mind. You know, there are things I like to do. I got my archery deer tags today. The season started Sept 15th, and I haven’t actually gone out, but I have my tags! I picked out a spot behind the house, in the woods….

Yes, He Hears Us

While driving down the interstate, going to my GriefShare class, I see a giant, promise-filled rainbow over the hospital where Jana died. God shared this, provided this…for me tonight. God is about taking care of His children. His faithfulness endures forever! 2 Corinthians 1:4 CSBHe comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may…

They’re Coming… the HOLIDAYS!

Each day there are a host of activities and events that remind me of Jana’s absence. Daily routines call her name for participation, but she doesn’t hear. The simple things are difficult. She’s not here to do her part. Some of the bigger events are almost unbearable without her input. She’s not there to suggest…

Two Months – And Counting…

Two months. Two months without my best friend. Two months of trying to figure out life, death, and God. Allyson and I were at a restaurant finishing lunch when she showed me a short video of Jana. I watched this snippet, catching the familiar movements and behavior of my wife…and I cried. Immediately Allyson felt…

Date Night…Without My Date

Jana and I enjoyed going out and spending date nights together. Sometimes it was a planned event, other times it was just catching some free time and going out. We always had a good time exploring the city, trying a new restaurant, or window shopping various stores. Tonight, I was driving along, heading to Nebraska…

Slowly Changing

It takes time to “agree” with the fact that my wife has died. I am not fully there, but increasingly I am seeing this as the fact. The thought still holds a little surprise when I consider the loss…but the surprise and disbelief are fading. In catching up with the facts of my situation, I…

Illustrations and Visions

Secure in Christ. I was thinking about the marriage as being husband and wife walking with Jesus. This does not end when one partner dies. The marriage vows are fulfilled, but walking with Jesus continues. In my mind’s eye I can picture me – crumpled, broken, and fallen with Jesus standing next to me, His…

Walmart

You may or may not like Walmart, but Jana and I enjoyed it. There is a strange warmth and familiarity in going to Walmart, now. The familiarity was always there, but even in different cities and different stores, the memories come flooding back. I can remember so many occasions over the course of our time…