In the early days of trying to figure out our life without Derek here, I felt very hopeless and wondered if I would ever feel joy again. The most basic things brought me so much guilt and pain, eating and sleeping even felt wrong. I couldn’t see how I would ever feel happy again when we are missing one of us.
About two weeks after Derek’s Memorial Service, we had to drive out to Troy, Alabama to get his truck and pack up his room. We stopped in Tuscaloosa on the way to spend a few days with our daughter Allie. We wanted to make sure she was doing OK, she had to go back to college so soon after losing her big brother. We took her out to dinner while we were there and that was an unexpected trigger of guilt and pain for me. It was the first time we had gone out for dinner since we got the call about Derek three weeks earlier. I felt such incredible guilt because we were out trying to enjoy a nice dinner and our oldest son is no longer with us. I cried throughout dinner that night and made this comment to my husband and daughter, “I don’t think I will ever feel joy again.” As soon as those words came out of my mouth, Allie got a really concerned look on her face and said this to me. “Mom, you can’t say that! Aren’t you going to feel joy when you see me graduate from college? Aren’t you going to feel joy when Katie, Luke, and I get married and have and have children? Aren’t you going to be happy watching us live our lives?” Her words that night were what I desperately needed to hear. I feel that God used her to speak to me. She helped me realize that even though a part of me died the day Derek went to Heaven, I still have work to do while I’m here. I believe that I will always struggle with feelings of sadness, pain, and hopelessness but my family needs the best of me. A a piece of my heart will always be missing, I really do have so much to look forward to.
I made promises to myself and my family that day that have helped guide me on this journey so far. I promised to do my best to not rob my living children of joy and the best life possible because of the pain and emptiness I feel. I promised my husband that no matter how hard walking this road will be, we’ll do it together. I promised myself that no matter how dark this journey gets, I will look to the Lord for light and not turn to anger and bitterness. I have moments that I fail at keeping my promises but I keep trying. I’m so thankful to serve a God that doesn’t fail like I do. He promised to never leave me that day as I poured out my heart to Him and He has kept his word.
Lord, thank you for keeping your promise to never leave me as I learn to live without Derek here.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” Deuteronomy 31:8