Widow Maker

Chronicles of my family's life after the sudden loss of my husband.

The Price of Love

“Grief never ends…But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…It is the price of love.” Author Unknown

This is a fitting quotation for this present period in my journey, for many reasons. First and foremost, over two and a half years into losing Todd, I truly have come to the realization that grief really never does end. It ebbs and flows and does get more bearable over time. While there are some moments and triggers that seem to bring back the grief to a level close to those first few months, those moments and triggers are fewer and farther between. Honestly, it is sometimes depressing knowing that the grief does not have an ending, that it is infinite. Even more disheartening, we all will experience this in life, more than once. Unfortunately, my children and I are experiencing this depth of grief over losing an extremely important person in our lives much sooner than most. But, I have seen people very close to me this past year lose a parent. That is a loss I have yet to endure, but their pain and grief seem all too familiar and my heart aches for them knowing the journey on which they are now.

Yes, my grief has changed in the few short years that Todd has died. It truly is a passage. I have experienced the “five stages of grief” at differnt times and in no particular order. Denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are stages I feel I have come to know well. Acceptance seems to be the hardest, especially considering Todd’s sudden and unexpected death. I am a work in progress and I truly feel I am getting there. I know this journey in grief will be ever-changing, as well as ebb and flow at times. I have a habit of feeling weak and sometimes even selfish when I have moments of despair and anguish over how my life has changed so drastically. My children are healthy and for the most part, well adjusted. I have an amazing family and community of friends surrounding me. It could be so much worse and I have heard of widows in worse positions. When this anguish engulfs me, I cling to my faith in God and his plan. I thank God every night for being present in my life. I have loved and lost, big time. I also have regretted some of the choices I have made along the way after Todd’s death, but I know I will always have God on my side and my children’s unconditional love. Sometimes I feel it is all I have to get through some moments.

That being said, I am especially drawn to the line in the quotation that references grief being the price of love. What a perfect statement that is prevalent in both my past and my present. Anyone who has been in love and especially married know that love and marriage are not easy. They take work, but oh, is that work worth it. I will take this grief everyday of my life knowing that I had a great love with Todd. I would rather have a lifetime of grief than not love like I did. A love that created four amazing children and countless memories, even if it was cut tragically short. While I will never understand why Todd was taken from us so soon, I will always cherish the love and memories that were created. Grief is just a small price that I am paying.

However, this understading of the price of love also unnerves me as I move forward in my life. I have fallen in love again, but sometimes it scares me. Is loving again worth opening myself up to the possible pain and grief of losing another person I love? Can I bear that again? Once you lose someone earlier than you ever expected, it changes you forever. An unanwered text sometimes sends my imagination into overdrive and I envision the worst case scenario. When the worst case scenario actually happens to you, it is inevitable that you will sometimes jump to conclusions, however ridiculous they may seem to others. Is it worth it? I think so. Believe me, I have moments where I feel like being alone and raising my kids as best I can would be easier than having those moments of worry and the work of loving another. But that is not the way I want to live, the loneliness is unbearable. I have found love again, something I did not think was possible. Grief is the price of love. The love I feel is worth it. In fact, I am sure of it. Moving forward is challenging for many other reasons beyond opening myself up to the pain of losing again, but love is most definitely worth it. I will end with another quotation that I have come to appreciate these past several months, “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” Elon Musk.

Carrying On…..

I have started three posts in the past six months and have not finished one of them. Actually, I think it is a perfect picture of my life right now. I seem to run a gamut of emotions lately. As the holidays are approaching, I seem to be reevaluating where I am in my life. You see, Todd was a big goal setter. Every holiday season, he set goals for himself and our family for the new year. Honestly, my only contribution to this goal setting was survival. When Todd died, the children were 8, 7, 5, and 2 years old, which means at our last goal setting meeting, I had an 8, 6, 4 and 1 year old. Yes, survival is all I had in mind, but I truly admired his aspirations and I actually thrived on them. I have vowed to myself to set a few goals for myself for this next year in honor of Todd.

The past six months have been amazing. I truly feel I have grown a tremendous amount, dealing with love and loss and all emotions in between. I am continuing on my journey of moving forward and finding peace with that. Of course, there are ups and downs that come with that and certain feelings on the subject are completely out of my control. Accepting that is the biggest battle for me, but I feel I am capable of that. My focus remains on my children, but I remain steadfast in my belief that I can move forward in love.

All that being said, probably my biggest challenge in the past six months has been raising the kids by myself. I have gone from always thinking, “What would Todd do?” to recognizing that I am in this on my own. At first this realization was daunting, but I have come to accept it. Sometimes I still think about what Todd would do, but more often I act as I believe is most appropriate and best given the situation. However, that burden of being the sole decision maker weighs heavily on my heart. My biggest fear is that one day my children will resent me for the decisions I made in their young lives. I pray to God every night that they will grow to be passionate, understanding, and caring individuals, and I am not ashamed to admit that I add in a prayer that they do not hate me for the way I may have handled certain situations.

In all honesty, I do rely on my hope in the future to get through some of the days. This hope and the gratitude I have for the many blessings in my life truly carry me on in even the most difficult moments. If I can instill this hope, gratitude and prayerfulness in my children, then I truly believe we will all be just fine in the long run.

Letter to Todd

In honor of Todd on Father’s Day, I wanted to post the letter that I wrote to Todd 5 days after he died that was read at his funeral by his sister. I feel ready to share with those who were not able to attend the funeral that day and those who may never have met him. I wrote it in about a half an hour while my mom took a shift driving the car on our way from Atlanta to Cincinnati for the funeral, and the words just poured out of me. This is the husband and father Todd was:

Dear Todd,

As I sit here to write this letter, my heart continues to break. There are no adequate words to express what you mean to me. You were my entire life. You were the love of my life. I know why God wanted you because it is probably for many of the same reasons I wanted you. I cannot bear the thought of saying goodbye to you.

You were an incredible husband, father and human being. I want our children to know what an amazing person you were. I want them to know that you were a man of great faith who was devoted to his family. I want them to know that you strove for perfection, with the knowledge that you can always improve. You never sat back satisfied. There was always more to be done and more to learn. Being around you made me a better person in so many ways. It breaks my heart to know that you will not be here as an example to our babies.

I was so proud to be your wife. I always felt so lucky that you were mine. You were devoted to God and to our family. Everything you did was for us. I will never forget when you said that when you die, you do not want to be remembered for accomplishments at work or elsewhere, you just wanted to be remembered as being a good dad. Well, you succeeded. Even if you had stayed up the entire night getting a project done for work, you would come home at the end of the day with so much excitement and energy when you saw the children. You always had enough energy to give them a bath, read them a book, say a decade of the rosary and put them to bed. I would even tell people it was almost annoying because I could never have that much energy on so little sleep. You simply amazed me.

There are so many things I will miss now that you are gone. I will miss you turning instructions for the kids into a song. You could get them into the bath so much faster than I could. I will miss hearing you read to them. I will miss your beautiful laughter when you play with them. You were the best toy and jungle gym. I will miss the way you could turn a simple drive through the neighborhood into an adventure of investigating a haunted house. I will miss hearing you pray with them. I will simply miss the sight of them running at you full speed for a hug when you walked through the door after work. They absolutely adore you.

As a wife, I will miss your arms wrapped around me. I will miss feeling safe simply because I had you in my life. I cannot stop the tears as I write this. I will miss you telling everyone what an awesome cook I was when in reality I was probably just average. I guess the food tastes better when made with love. I will miss you telling me I am the most beautiful woman in a room full of people when it was far from the truth. What a wonderful feeling you gave me, making me feel like the most beautiful person through your rose colored eyes. I will miss you tickling my back to help me to fall asleep. You could always relax me and were always so generous with your love. I will miss you telling me what a great mom I was, despite the many mistakes I have made. I will miss you calling me wifey. I will miss holding your hand in church. I will simply miss being with you.

Most of all, I will miss what could have been. We had so many dreams together. You were so happy with your new job and our beautiful new home. Your excitement was so contagious. You have that affect on people, especially me and the children. You taught our children to always say “Great!” when asked how they are doing in the morning, always starting the day with a good attitude.

Todd, I will try to raise the children as best as I can without you. Nothing will replace the kind of person and example you would have been in their lives. Please help me up there because the task seems so daunting without you. I know you will be our guardian angel and guide us from above.

I am so, so sorry that I was not there for you in time, that I did not look for you earlier. My heart breaks over and over knowing I was not there to save you. My only comfort is that I know God was there with you.

I hope I told you I loved you enough, I hope I hugged you enough, I hope you know how loved you were by your devoted wife, loving children, your beautiful parents, your sister, your nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles and many friends. The outpouring of love for you this past week has lifted me up in so many ways.

Rest in peace my love and until we meet again.

Love,
Colleen

Moving Forward

Wow. I have not written a new post in a long time. Over the past several days, I have thought about the best way to summarize how the past several months have been for me and my children. “Moving forward” is the most accurate phrase out of many that come to mind. As a nod to my initial promise to myself and my children on looking to the positive, moving forward is a fitting way to describe how I am trying to see this time in my life.

 

As I mentioned in my post in November, the second year is proving to have its own, sometimes more difficult challenges. I cannot help but use a term I learned during all my years playing sports, “gut check”. I have had to give myself a “gut check” several times during this second year post loss. At times I would get to a point in the day when I just did not think I could deal with one more fight between my children, plead one more time with a child about doing homework or taking a bath, make one more meal, painstakingly trying to make it both healthy and appealing to four different palates, do one more load of never ending laundry, or load and unload the dishwasher one more time by myself. During these moments, I felt myself begin to wish life were different. I would begin feeling sorry for myself and what I lost in Todd, my best friend, my husband, the father to our children, and an extra set of hands. I knew it was “gut check” time when I felt this way. I wanted to enjoy the moment and make the most of it. In all honesty, I did not have success everytime. Sometimes I would just cry myself to sleep, knowing tomorrow would be a new day. Other times I was able to snap out of it, be present, and enjoy the life I now had. Four healthy, beautiful, talented children who may make me crazy on a daily basis, but who also make me smile, laugh, and feel loved unconditionally. I could be a ranting, raving lunatic and they would still love me. How great is that. I am truly blessed and those gut checks helped me remember that. I have the power to shape how my today is and how my tomorrow will be, by recognizing I am as blessed as I allow myself to be.

On the theme of moving forward, I also realized sometime during this second year that I want to share my life with someone again. Honestly, the thought of being with another man besides Todd was not even on my radar during the first year. When the year anniversay approached, my feelings of loneliness and a yearning to have someone with whom I could share my life began to grow. I allowed myself to go out on dates. Honestly, it was a lot of fun in the beginning. As time went by, it became harder and harder as I tried to decide what it was I really wanted. In the beginning, I realized I was not quite ready to fully move on with this part of my life. It was one thing to go on a date or two, but quite another to allow someone to fall in love with me. It scared me. But as time went on, I decided that I could not let fear of the unknown, fear of being hurt, or fear of hurting another, keep me from “moving forward”. As busy as I was with my own life and my children, I felt an emptiness. I missed the companionship of a partner, being loved, simply being wanted. If I let fear dominate my life, I would never grow and would remain stagnant and in one place. Or, I could grow from the past pain and loss I have endured and love again. Having suffered the loss that I have has given me a deeper appreciation for life, its preciousness and to not take love for granted, ever.

Unfortunately, not everyone in my life has embraced this part of my “moving forward”. While this saddens me deeply, I also realize that the best things in life are those that you fight to have and require work and sacrafice. The reward will be sweeter and deeper in the end. I came across a quote that fits how I feel perfectly, “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” I know Todd is in heaven rooting for me and proud that I am taking control of my happiness. He knows I have only the best intentions for our children and I know he wants me to be happy. I will face the obstacles and continute to move forward, fully knowing that I will have setbacks along the way. I will fall, but I always get back up.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

It has been some time since I last posted a blog. For the lack of a better excuse, I have to say that for the last few months, with school, work and children’s activities, I have been blissfully distracted for the most part. Additionally, I have delicately entered into the dating world, leaving little time for much more. Now, for the past couple of weeks, I have had this same feeling come over me several times and it has inspired me to write.
Earlier this week, I heard a speaker, via a youtube post, talking about taking time in our busy lives to appreciate the wonders of nature and our everyday world that surround us. I began to think about the importance of this concept for parents and enjoying the moment with their children while they are exactly that, children. I am sure I speak for many parents in saying that I need to work on this.
You see, it is happening. My children’s lives are passing by so quickly and that piece of advice so many have given to young parents is coming to fruition. For me, more so now that Todd is gone. How many times was I told as a young mother with three children three and under, “Take the time to enjoy them now while they are little, it goes by so fast”? Countless. And I understood in that young mother way, yes, time does go by quickly and I am trying to enjoy the moments. But when you have three angels three and under, survival is more on your mind.
But that time has come. I cannot believe how big my “babies” are now. Kylie just turned ten. Grant and Noah are turning into little men and Chase’s first three years of life were a flash of time. Was it not just yesterday when Kylie started Kindergarten and I was pregnant with Chase? Was it not just yesterday that I thought, “Well, the days are long, but the years are short,”? Now, the days are short and the years even shorter.
Still, some days I do feel like I am back in that “survival mode”. By the end of most days, I just want to collapse in my bed. I am getting used to it all, trying to fill that huge void left by Todd. I feel like a failure most days. Nobody can replace the natural jovial person he was. But trying has made me such a better person. You see, even in death Todd has made me better, almost as much as when he was alive. Typical Todd. As busy and hardworking as he was, he always took time to enjoy the moment and always managed to pull me out of my “survival mode” and enjoy the moment with him.
Really, when I think back on this time last year, I am better. For some reason, I had it in my mind I would magically be healed after I hit a year of him being gone. Now I know this was a coping method, albeit a good one. It really did help get me through that first year. A coping method I am sure to use during this second year as well.
Truth be told, I am putting my heart back together and am learning to live without Todd. I have grown so much in so many ways, yet he will always be a part of who I am. The old saying “Two steps forward, one step back,” comes to mind. However, I tend to think of it in terms of my heart healing. I put a couple of pieces of my broken heart together and I have a slight break that sets me back a bit. Nevertheless, it is progress, slow and steady, and I will take it.

A New Reality

Sometime during this summer, it hit me that I really am embarking on a brand new normal. Striving to be the best mom I can be on top of trying to begin a career as a 37 year old has been a challenge to say the least. When your whole sense of security is suddenly stripped away, it is terrifying for the most part.

As I write this, I am sitting here on the eve of the children’s first day of school (at least the 3 older children as Chase starts next week). Where did the summer go? Well, it went with me embarking on a whole new journey with my children. Where I was once a virtually stay at home mom (minus a few hours as a hotline attorney), I became a mom who was gone at least half the day most of the week. My children really had a hard time getting used to that. While I was extremely grateful that I did not have to work full-time, even transferring to truly part-time proved to be challenging. I was on the receiving end of a lot of guilt trips and pity parties. It was truly a new reality leaving my children with a babysitter for up to twenty hours a week during the summer. I developed a whole new respect for mothers who have to work. How blessed was I to have a husband who made a living that enabled me to stay at home with my children while they were so little.

As blessed as I felt, I also felt a lot of resentment. I could not help but think that I should be sitting in our beautiful home in John’s Creek, GA this summer enjoying the wonderul success of the Simmons/Serta mattress from the past year. Instead, I was hustling everyday getting the kids ready for the day and then off to put a few hours into a job that “might” lead to a “career”. I hated feeling that way. Really, I should be grateful for this law degree and the chance to have a career at all. Nevermind the fact that I stayed at home for years. Never mind the feeling that I am starting over at the age of 37.

Well, it has been a few weeks since I began writing this post. I still have the same feelings, but they do ebb and flow. The start of the school year has brought more of a routine, which I very much appreciate. I am still struggling with the concept of starting a career so late in life. While I truly believe I will find my way eventually, the journey is certainly frustrating and terrifying at times.

One thing is for sure, I send my children off to school everyday and pray that they will continue to be the wonderful children that they are. I truly believe that each of them will be something extraordinary some day. They have been so strong through this past year. They look out for each other. They are so empathetic and caring. My hear swells when I think of the people they are becoming.

One Year Anniversary

Below is what I read this morning at the memorial Mass for Todd. It has been a difficult and emotional day, but I am blessed to be with family and friends who have been with me during this difficult year.

One Year Anniversay

 

          Please bear with me as this is very difficult, but I really wanted to take a moment to properly express how grateful I am for all you wonderful people in my life. Without all of you here and all of those who could not make it today, I honestly do not know where I would be today.

 

            My world shattered a year ago today. Sometimes I still cannot believe what my life is now without Todd. I cannot adequately express in words how much he meant and still means to me. He is the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last at night. As I reflect over the past year, my thoughts often go back to the few days before Todd’s funeral as I was making plans. There was a song that was a hit last summer that became the song that got me through that week. Although it is not religious in nature, I felt sometimes as if God were talking to me as I ran around and around that Parkside lake each morning, trying to run the pain and fear out of me. The song is “Home” by Phillip Phillips and I want to read you some of the lyrics that helped me get through that awful time.

 

“Settle down, it’ll all be clear

Don’t pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear

The trouble it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found.

Just know you’re not alone

Cause I’m going to make this place your home.”

 

            You see, in reality I was freaking out. I was so scared and sometimes that fear paralyzed me. What was I going to do? Todd took care of us. He was an unbelievable husband, father and provider. He kept us safe. He kept us secure. When I went running, I would play that song over and over again and it just spoke to me. God wanted me to settle down. Those fearful thoughts of being alone, lost, and terrified were just demons. Yes, something horrible happened to our family and it was certainly dragging me down. I did feel lost and I knew that feeling would be around for quite some time. But I knew I was not alone. You all made sure of that. God placed each and every one of you in my life and the lives of my children for a reason and we have made it through this year because of that.

           

            As I ran, I was making many difficult decisions. Not only did I have to plan the funeral of my husband, but I needed to plan a new future for my children and our family. Home is not just where you reside. It is in God’s embrace as I prayed the rosary over and over running lap after lap around the Parkside park, asking for guidance. It is in church where I let the tears freely flow, knowing I was especially close to Todd in that moment. It is in the arms of family near and far in the darkest moment of your life. It is in the laughter of friends who drop everything to be with you in your moment of need, however big or small. It is in the amazing community of Royalmont, into which my children and I walked on their first day back and they miraculously left my side confident that they were where they were loved and safe. It is in the gym where my daughter has been a gymnast for over 6 years and every coach and employee embraced us with a smile and kind word each time we entered the building. We did not have just one home, but many and it is all of you who made these places our home.

 

            I want my children to know that despite the tragedy, we are actually the lucky ones. We not only have a home in Mason, in the Royalmont community, in our playgroup friends, in the Kidsfirst community, we are also blessed with so many people who love us, near and far. We have a Nana and Papa and a Grammy and Gogo who have spent countless hours and dollars taking care of us. We have friends and family who have gone out of their way to make us meals, help us move, send us an encouraging text or email, or just sit with us so we were not so lonely. So even though I continue to get lost and the troubles I face seem to drag me down at times, I know I am not alone. I am not on my own because I have a piece of Todd in each of my beautiful children and I have people in my life who have made a home for us wherever we are.

 

            I recently received the book of memories that Todd’s sister Joelle collected at the funeral and compiled for us. What an unbelievable gift, to see Todd through the eyes of so many people in so many different aspects and times of his life. In the end, we were all lucky to have known Todd and are better people for it. He was taken from us early, but our time with him was extraordinary and the lasting impact he made on people will continue much longer than I could have ever imagine.

Father’s Day

As I am sitting here at the end of this emotional day, I cannot believe that we are almost to the first year anniversay of Todd’s death. Father’s day is the last major “first” that we have to endure during this painful year. As that first year anniversary draws near, I often wonder if the pain of the loss of Todd and God’s hope can ever co-exist. I keep thinking it will be better, one day at a time, but then the awful reality of what happened and what my life has become seems to consume my thoughts once again.

Undoubtedly, in an instant, one of the children does something to pull me from the depth of my grief and that hope seeps in once again. I look back on the past year and wonder how I survived it at all. I remember all those firsts and the pain I felt. I remember the pain the children felt. When we finish with “the firsts”, will this pain subside? Probably not all at once. I am sure it will gradually get better, but no, it will never be gone. As I contemplate this, I recall a homily I heard in church a couple of weeks ago. God didn’t promise a life free of hardships, but He does provide us with unconditional love and hope in the future. I see this hope and love through my children and their actions. I thank God for them everyday and truly believe that God put them in my life for this reason.

Yes, Father’s day was hard. I cried in church and continued to hold back those tears when we visited the cemetary and released balloons with notes written to Todd toward heaven. Feelings of grief consumed me many times today. Todd was an unbelievable father and provider. Nobody will ever be the example he would have been to the children. As hard as I try, I can never be that person to them. How can I keep these feelings from consuming my life?

Sometime during the past week, I read a line that stated, “God’s love keeps us from being consumed.” Just as God said we need to be like children in our faith, my children are a perfect example of God’s love. They keep me from being consumed by my grief. They keep me from being consumed by my anger. They keep me from being consumed over the loss. They naturally, through their love of life and uninhibited way of living it, keep me from being consumed. So, the pain of loss and God’s love can co-exist. I am going to finish this year of “firsts” and march into the next year of “seconds” with the knowledge that the pain will always be there but with faith and hope that it will not consume me.

Fighting the Loneliness

I have come to discover through the months after Todd’s death and being a single mom to four young children that long weekends are the hardest. Looking forward to these weekends and spending time with Todd have turned to sometimes moments of dread. I feel guilty having these feelings because I love my children dearly and cherish spending time with them, but I often feel the most alone on these long weekends.

Over this Memorial Day weekend, we had plenty of activities to keep us busy and great company, which was unbelievably helpful. However, at the end of the night, it was just me and the children.

My oldest once heard me tell someone on the phone that the loneliness was very hard to bear at times. With a look of a little bit of shock and a whole lot of hurt, she reminded me that I am not alone. I have herself and her three brothers. Whether my back pedaling worked or not is still unknown, but I temporarily convinced her that yes, I am completely filled up with their love and company, even if I may feel a bit lonely for daddy at times. A nine year old is not ready to know the depths of emptiness I’ve felt at times without the person who knew me to the core. The person who loved me despite all my faults. The person who thought I was the most beautiful woman in the world. The person with whom I felt I could take on anything life brought and get through it together. The person who made me feel safe. Will I ever feel safe with someone again? Will I ever be ready?

Often during these times of loneliness, I sit up at night and wonder about heaven. I wonder if Todd is in the presence of the Lord when I send up my prayers to Him. Can Todd hear my prayers when I pray to God? Is Todd watching us as we live our lives? I truly believe he is now our guardian angel. It brings me such comfort to tell the children that they are actually the lucky ones. They now have an extra guardian angel in their lives and my heart swells at the smiles that form on their face when I say this to them. When I think of this, the loneliness and grief become bearable once again.

In my heart, I know Todd wants me to be happy. While I am still grieving for him, a part of me looks to the future and believes that things will be better. For in this hope, I find that I am able to be the mother I need to be and the person I want to be. Hope springs eternal.

Psalm 23

Psalm 23 was one of Todd’s favorite psalms. It was the Psalm for Sunday’s mass on the day he died. We heard it together in church Saturday evening. It is still unbelievable to me that on the morning he died, his favorite Psalm was being said in Catholic churches everywhere.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

Obviously, I now interpret that psalm in a very different way. One would think the psalm would bring me comfort now. However, where it once brought me a sense of security, it now sometimes brings a very different reaction. Taking the very first verse, “The Lord is my Shepard; I shall not want,” I cannot help but feel resentment toward God. I want Todd. Psalm 23 teaches us that with God as the center of our lives, there is nothing we should want. But the one thing in the whole world that I want isn’t even possible.

As I read on, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul,” I can see how God has worked in my life since the tragedy. Sitting outside on a beautiful evening watching my children play with pure joy, I could feel my soul being restored. I could picture stiller waters ahead. I felt hopeful. I rejoiced in that moment. Yes, I wanted Todd, but I had pieces of him through my children and they are happy and joyful, and I felt tears of joy sting the corners of my eyes.

“My cup runneth over.” I am completely drawn to this verse. Despite all that has happened, I am truly still blessed and my cup really does overflow. Forget seeing the cup as half full, my cup is completely full. I also think of Todd when I read this verse and the fact that he died so young. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, he lived his life to the fullest in every aspect. His cup truly did “runneth over”. He did not waste a moment.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” While I may want Todd here on earth with us, I am sure he is now in the presence of the Lord and there is nothing here on earth that I want for him that is better than what he has now. Yes, that hurts me as much as it comforts me. I am not going to pretend that I don’t get angry with God for taking him from us and that I want him here with us. But at the end of the day as I reflect on this, my heart does find peace in that last verse.