Opening Chapter. My journey of grief began
The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands.
He has watched over your journey through this vast desert (Deut. 2:7).
Rick was the love of my life.
Behind his brilliant mind and class-clown personality was a side of him few people knew. Childhood abuse—physical and verbal—molded him into a sensitive and compassionate man, but he took conflict very personally. Although he genuinely loved people and had a knack for making them feel good, he had trouble accepting that people loved him. As a child Rick vowed never to treat people as he had been treated.
Rick was healthy until he developed pneumonia six months after the birth of our last child. His immune system turned against him. For the next eight years he suffered from a chronic illness that sapped his strength and left him fatigued and susceptible to infections. Baffled, doctors labeled it Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Rick rarely complained, but he regretted that he could not be the husband, father, and pastor he once was.
On October 25th, Rick went to his office early. His best friend was planning to visit that night for a city-wide festival. A church member stopped by and asked how he was feeling. “Good,” he said. “I feel pretty good today.” That afternoon he drove to a doctor’s appointment to discuss new treatments, and the doctor told me later that Rick left feeling optimistic. Only minutes after returning, Rick sat at his desk working on an email for his camp staff, never suspecting that his world was about to explode.
Within a few hours my sensitive, compassionate, beloved husband would take his own life.
After a death only one thing is certain—there is no going back to “before.” Life as you know it ends. Whether death is sudden or expected, grief follows as the next phase of life. There are no shortcuts.
Some journeys, though difficult, are absolutely necessary.