There are times when I find my heart in someone else’s words. When that’s the case, I don’t try to say it myself, because I just couldn’t say it better.
Brad’s story and mine are nearly direct parallels: he lost his beautiful wife in October 2010, just weeks before I would encounter the same unbelievable heartache. He is a single dad of two, chasing the same truths I am, fighting the same defeating lies I am.
He wrote to me shortly after Robb died, just to say, “You don’t know me, but our stories match. And you won’t believe me, but you will survive this. I’m two months ahead of you, and I’m still breathing.”
As I’m approaching three years on my own, Brad just passed this milestone as well. He wrote this piece, and his words are my own. So I’m borrowing his.
I never wanted this feeling to come. I knew it would happen, but I wanted to believe it wouldn’t. Even though it doesn’t feel wrong, it sure sounds wrong. And even though I know it’s good, I want everyone to tell me it’s bad.
The fact is… I’m okay. I’m okay that it’s been 3 years since Stephanie died.
I’m okay that I have hated so many moments since then.
I’m okay on this day — an anniversary of the most awful kind.
As I think about the future, I’m okay.
When I think about the past, I’m okay.
I’ve been through the fire, but God didn’t let me burn, and the scars are just a reminder that He heals all wounds.
But there’s a part of me that still wants it to hurt. There’s a part of me that wants to live with an open wound that gets poked and scraped in unbearable ways. It helps me to know that I haven’t forgotten her. It also makes me depend on God constantly. And frankly, it gives me something to complain about. In fact, it makes for a pretty good trump card when others are complaining about their own lives. (I can’t deny the fact that I’ve done it.)
People warned me this day would come. (Or, as they saw it, they were encouraging me that this day would come.) As I said back then, I had a love-hate relationship with time. I loved that it brought me closer to healing, but hated that it took me further from Stephanie. And even then, I could feel the healing brought by every moment that came and went.
I don’t want to be okay. But I’m glad that I am. And I doubt the day will ever come when that makes sense, let alone that I’ll be able to explain it to anyone.
So please forgive me if I’m not sure how to answer when you ask me how I’m doing. I still want to say, “This sucks! I hate it!” and burst into uncontrollable sobs. And there’s a part of my heart that will always feel that way and do exactly that. But don’t be too surprised that I can genuinely say, “I’m doing quite well, actually.”
It’s not a lie. It’s just an answer that seems brand new to me.