One year ago today my husband Cam left us to be with Jesus. It’s been a long and difficult year. There have been many tears, anger and sadness that seemed never-ending, wishing upon wish that things had turned out differently and that I could wake up next to Cam to find it was all a bad dream. A deep well of grief in my existence and darkness that I thought the light would never reach. As if losing Cam was not enough to deal with, but the way he left was incredibly traumatic. I’ve endured countless flashbacks to those moments where we helplessly watched him decline in a matter of days and even hours. Thankfully I don’t experience this anymore. The last time I was overwhelmed with a traumatic flashback, I was at Bethel Church in California in the middle of worship two months ago. As I began to get emotional and reach for the tissues, I felt God speaking into my heart and gently shifting my focus from what was lost, to what was given. I started thinking about the good, the joy, the gifts of life and faith and the love that God has given me through Cam. I felt the raw grief lift off me and all that has been given to me suddenly had more weight than the pain of losing him. I felt freedom. I felt joy. I felt His love deep within. And I grabbed it with both hands and I will never let go. No one and nothing will ever take that away from me now. What an awesome God! At times I still feel sadness and lonely without Cam. But I don’t want to miss him like I used to. Little by little, at my own pace, I’ve been making healthy progress in moving forward with a life without Cam. Since coming back from America, I have a whole new lease on life and I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time.
I am an organised person and I like to be prepared for whatever is ahead. This has been especially important for me when anticipating the first events without Cam – first Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries etc. While preparing my thoughts for this day, I thought that I would reflect on the events of this time last year. But I realised, Cam isn’t reliving those traumatic memories and neither should I. So I’m not going to. I’m going to reflect on the happiness and love we shared and put the traumatic memories to rest. It’s amazing the memories you hold dear even in the most tragic of times. It’s those moments shared with loved ones left behind that I will hold on to. An embrace at the precise moment of heartbreak that deepens a bond, the minutes when time seems to stop for an eternity shared with a sister, the care from a mother whose love knows no limits.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
Today I will not mourn what was lost, but celebrate what is given to us in Christ.