Author’s note: This article was written 10 months after my husband’s death. When written I was acutely aware of our separation and was struggling immensely.
This life is so temporary. We don’t seem to get that most times. Over the last months it has become so clear to me that we are not meant for this earth forever. We are eternal beings with our hearts, souls and beings based in something bigger and better than this place that we walk in now.
Ten months ago my husband died. We are young (by my standards). He was 46. We just had our second child. I was banking on happily ever after. He truly was my prince charming. He is dead now and I am not. I am here on this earth with my happily ever after laying shattered in small, small pieces around me.
We were married nearly 9 years, together for 14. Such a short time, but while I was there, it seemed like eternity…it seemed permanent. It seemed like it could last forever. I was banking on it. We were banking on it.
Before my husband died, I wouldn’t have said I was naive. I had experienced many things and lived through difficult and beautiful times. I feel very different now though. I feel like I was fooling myself. I was lying to myself and those around me. I was putting too much stock in life here on earth when I really should be looking at eternity. My soul is eternal. I believe that God has blessed us and given us a gift that we just don’t understand. We can’t get past this place, this temporary place, to see what a grand and extraordinary gift we’ve been given…eternal life. Before I go on, I must remind you my husband died. He died only 10 months ago and I am in one of the darkest places I have ever been…I am in the middle of grief…uncontrollable, life-sucking, energy stealing grief. This is a grief I have never experienced. It is a misery and sadness like no other. It is only through this darkness that I see an even brighter light than I have ever seen. It is a light that continues to get me up every day. It is a light that keeps a small flame of hope in my broken heart. It is a light that lets me tell my children that God does love us and contrary to what it feel like now…has not forsaken us. It is that light that convinces me that we truly are eternal beings and this life is temporary…but God has great plans for us. God has great love for us. God’s love is permanent and we will hold it forever if our hearts allow.
I was with my husband when he died. He left this earth with one breath. One moment we are together with those we love and then that one last breath and they are gone. The separation seems so permanent. The separation seems so complete. Their transition to the eternal part, well, we don’t quite understand. I try to wrap my mind around it and I really don’t understand it. When my husband died, it was as amazing a moment as the moments when our children were born…it was amazing and tragic. In that moment I was so amazed by his bravery and ripped in two by the thought that I would never experience him…like I had…again. I would never hear him, smell him, touch him, be held by him, or gaze at him across a room again. My children would never jump into daddy’s lap again. His mother would never get to hold his hand again. His father would never again pat him on the shoulder…so tragic, so amazing.
Now this is what I’m banking on…that this is temporary…our separation is temporary not permanent as it seems this moment. Some day, I too will make the transition he has made. I too will have the opportunity to move from here to eternity. With God’s love and blessing our family will some day be together in a place where no one, no sickness, no death can separate us. This is what I’m banking on now. I’m putting my life where my mouth has been for so many years in ministry. I’m putting my faith, my life in God’s hands…knowing that only that can be permanent. Knowing that when I put my broken life in the hands of God that it will be repaired and prepared for family reunion that I can only dream of here in this temporary place. This life is full of love, heartbreak, joy and pain. This life is always changing and we are always adapting to its change and transition. During the most difficult times, please remember (as I try too) that this is temporary. It truly will pass. With God’s love and our open hearts, we will come together in eternity…which is permanent. We will continue to love and live here on earth. We will continue in joy and pain to build relationships here on earth. We will continue to feel like something is missing…because it’s true…we are not made for this temporary place. Our souls, our beings know it…they long for eternal love and grace. We will get there. I will get there. My children will get there. All in God’s time we will go…as hard as that is to understand most days…all in God’s time we will go. I will remember that time is human and God is permanent. I will remember that my dear, dear husband…my love…now knows this permanent, eternal love. I will remember that I too will experience it someday…but for now, I continue on my journey here, longing for my eternity, longing for my love. Knowing that God will hold me until my time for eternity.
Copyright Christine Thiele. Originally published in “The Journal of Student Ministries” Vol. 1, May 2006 then published in Grief Digest.
Updated: July 29, 2013