Several of Michael's family members and mine met me at his niche late this morning to mark the first anniversary of his passing. I had thought about what I wanted to say over the weekend, and I read this while we were gathered there together:
First of all, let me say that it is hard to believe that it’s been a year already since he had to leave me. Each month that has passed since then, I have been struck by how quickly time goes on. It doesn’t seem right at times. On the one hand, I hate that my time with Michael is already one year in the past. On the other, I know that I am one year closer to the time when I will be reunited with him in Heaven.
I have loved Michael most of my adult life. Loving him is as natural to me as breathing. I love Michael. That’s a huge part of who I am. When he was sick, and I would tell him that I loved him (which I did multiple times a day anyway), in addition to telling me that he loved me, too, he would thank me for loving him. I would tell him that I couldn’t help myself. And that was the truth. I couldn’t help but love him.
I love his gentle nature.
I love his beautiful smile.
I love his warm laugh and the sound of his voice.
I love his sense of humor.
I love the way he enjoyed life.
I love how he could make anything fun.
I love to listen to and watch him play the guitar.
I love the way he loved me.
I could go on and on because there are so many things that I love about him. Even some of his faults were endearing. Despite his self-doubts, he was a wonderful husband. He took such good care of me. He would rise early in the morning to prepare me a hot breakfast before I had to leave for work. When he wasn’t on the road, he would take care of most of the household chores. How many women have husbands like that? He made me feel so cared for – so precious to him. In fact, he frequently called me his “precious wife.”
Our relational journey may have been long and tumultuous, but it culminated in our marriage, which although short, was very, very sweet. Even though we had huge challenges with infertility and then cancer, we always knew we were blessed to share each day together. We rarely disagreed or argued, and I have to give him a lot of credit for that because he was so easy-going and he desired to please me. He knew that a happy wife meant a happy life, and I heard him say that phrase several times to friends of his. He made me very happy, and while he was slipping from this life to his eternal life, I made sure to tell him that.
The greatest gifts he gave me were his love and commitment, choosing to put his faith in Jesus our Savior, and now this baby girl of ours. Those gifts have given me beautiful memories, an assurance of an eternity spent together, and the anticipation of seeing him in the face of Michaela Grace.
It has not been easy adjusting to life without Michael in the last year. I know that the only reason I can stand here today is because of the grace of God. He has carried me through my grief – each hour, each week, each month since I last saw my husband.
I expect that like loving Michael will always be a part of me, so too will be mourning his absence. But I mourn with hope and expectation. It’s such a paradox that mourning and hope and expectation can be experienced together, but it’s supernatural and of God. As the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
I do not sorrow as others who have no hope. My hope is in Christ, and my husband is in His glorious presence waiting for me.