This past week has marked 10 years since Tony proposed to me. It seems the fog is slowly starting to lift and my heart is aching more for him.
You wouldn't think so being around me. Sometimes I catch people off guard as I am still my "normal" self: laughing, smiling, talking about any topic, making plans for my future. And it is true, life continues forward and day to day I can find so much happiness around me (I have seven big reasons!). But I don't act this way because I am in any way "over" Tony. I miss him dearly. I miss him being alive and well (like in this picture taken 10 years ago) but I find myself now even missing him sick. While Tony was ill, I began grieving the loss of him, as the Tony we all knew, as our life changed much as he slowly faded. So now I find myself not only grieving my Tony, but also missing taking care of him when he was sick and not quite himself. I am thankful he no longer has to bear the burden of such a broken body--- but I do miss caring for him because I love him in all his forms- sick or healthy.
Often many will remark about moving forward and looking for companionship and help as I raise our children, as it is a big burden to bear. I do miss having Tony here as my husband and as the father to our babies, but above all I miss HIM. I miss his deep laugh as he would hunch over and squint his clear blue eyes and smile with his perfect lips. I miss his grin as he would gently tease me and hold me in his good arm. I miss watching him rock our babies to sleep and then beg if he could just hold them longer instead of focusing on sleep training. I miss going to the store and it taking twice as long because he had to go out of his way to say hello and have a full conversation with anyone he knew-- or anyone he didn't know, too! I could go on and on for pages about the many wonderful, and even the frustrating things, I miss about Tony. No matter what, I will always miss him and everything that he is and nothing can fill that void. Life will continue and the grief will lesson, but I will never stop missing him until we are together again.
I am thankful for all the help my kids and I continue to receive in many various forms of kindness. Please know how much it brightens my kids' days and helps alleviate the new stresses that we can have. This is the hardest difficulty I have ever faced, and it is only the beginning, so your love and prayers are much appreciated. I have connected and met with other young widows with small children--- there are so many of us in the world. My situation is not unique or unheard of, yet you continue to reach out and "mourn with those who mourn." Thank you for being my friend and especially a friend to my children. This single parenting is tough stuff!
Recently I have been reflecting on (and trying not to dwell, though) the many years it potentially will be until Tony and I are reunited. Being 29, I have a lot of life ahead of me and a lot of time to improve myself and strengthen my promises I have made with God and those I have made with Tony. I deeply want to return with honor to my Heavenly Father, as well as to my husband, for our marriage is not broken by the stripes of death, but can continue forever. I can still continue to be a wife to Tony even though he isn't physically here. The one sure way I can be a good wife to him still is to be a good mother to our children, which I feel I struggle with lately as my patience is fleeting and my belly is ever growing this new baby. At night I reflect on the day and all the different emotions that were felt in our home, and I hate to admit that there can be a lot of chaos and not as much peace and patience as I would like. I yearn for Tony's gentle guidance but I cannot feel it yet.
So what can we do when we feel stretched to our limits and disappointed with our daily performance? What do we do when all we have prayed for has been answered differently than we wanted, or hasn't been answered yet? One thing is all we can and need to do: turn to our Savior, Jesus Christ. When we feel that heaven or our Father seem far away, Christ is there to lift us up and ease our burdens. He doesn't solve our problems or take the aching away, but He can ease our sufferings by sharing the load if we let Him. With the absence of Tony, I realize how much more I need to rely on my Savior and I am beginning to see how much He really loves me. Jesus allows us to keep the hurt and pain and frustrations but teaches us how to endure well, for if they were taken away, so much love and joy would be lost in our lives as we could not learn and grow. He is our partner to share in all of life's sorrows and joys; how wonderful that God loves us so much that He sent Christ to help us with everything we need.
When we turn to our Savior and trust Him, life becomes more simple and we more easily recognize Heavenly Father's love for us. This is my focus right now in teaching my kids; all you need to do is trust God and He will take care of us. We may not understand or agree with the way our life is heading but when we trust in Him the burden of worries and anger slip away and peace can be your constant companion.
I am glad the heart aches, for it is a witness of the deep and profound love we feel and it helps us to turn to Jesus Christ, which is where true joy is for us all.