Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. To my family it is also the saddest. Fourteen years ago today I lost my husband, Rick, and my children lost their dad. Even after fourteen years we haven’t forgotten the brutal, intense pain of his sudden death. There were days when I wondered if we would survive.
But we did. Years have passed, and now the memories of Rick are more likely to bring smiles than tears.
I wrote my last post in January, when I told about my upcoming marriage to Keith. We have been married for almost eight months now. The fall season is a difficult one for him, too, because in a few weeks he faces the fifth anniversary of his wife’s death.
We both feel fortunate to have found love twice in our lifetimes. We loved our first spouses – and we love each other. We also understand the meaning of these fall days that held such sadness.
The living room in our new home has a wall that is our favorite – a family wall. In the center is a collage of pictures from our wedding last February. On either side are pictures of our first weddings which took place a few weeks and hundreds of miles apart in 1971, long before we met. Next to them are pictures of our children’s weddings. On another wall, side by side, are the last professional photographs taken of each of our families.
Neither of us feels threatened by the pictures or the memories they portray, because they represent a long and lovely history. Rick and I were married for thirty years; Keith and his wife for almost forty. We often talk about our first spouses and share memories. The memories and stories don’t diminish our love for each other. We understand that they shaped us into the people we are today.
A few days ago I walked through our neighborhood and listened to music on my iPod. I had tuned to my “favorites” folder which holds songs from many genres. I was admiring the fall colors and also thinking of the upcoming anniversary of Rick’s death. A song by Selah began to play, a combination of “In My Life” by the Beatles and “If We Never Meet Again.” It always moves me, and I felt a sudden pang of grief.
The very next song that played was “Joy” by Apollo 100, an upbeat remake of Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”
Instantly I caught the implication of the song order. The first was played at Rick’s funeral; the second was the recessional at Keith’s and my wedding.
“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5 NLT).