Like many people, I fall to wishing and wanting what I do not have. It isn’t things I want, it is what I thought my life was going to look like at this stage. That thought is nothing like my reality, but my reality is much richer than I can see at times. I am blessed, deeply blessed by my children, health, job, and life experiences. I have simply exceeded my own expectations of life and I may never have seen it if the loss of Phil hadn’t shattered my heart. In brokenness, there was no choice if I wanted to continue living. I began to grow when I gave up control and the expectation of what was owed to me, should be, and a sense of fairness.


In the initial broken state of shock and deep body racking pain which hurt more than any physical injury or surgery, I lost many of the happy memories of 23 years. I could barely breathe and the weight of what I had lost caused me to crumple to my knees—broken. I survived by keeping in the moment and not looking ahead. One second, one minute, one hour, and then days at a time. I had no plans except to trust God to be enough. I still feel that way, but I have taken tentative steps toward whatever my future holds. It is about choices.


Many of you know the story of the young 21 year old that came into my pool. He strutted around in a blue hammock swimming suit. I had just gotten out of a bad marriage and I was actively on the road to going to medical school and becoming a pediatrician. I was not interested in a military man who I thought was flirting with all of my friends. He pursued me and asked me out 19 times before I said yes. When he told me on the 19th time that he wouldn’t ask me out again if I said no, it was a defining moment. The choice I made in faith created a life far beyond my own dream of my future.


That choice entailed giving up a dream and a profession, but the gift came in what came next. I was able to be the mom I always wanted to be. I was able to have the five children I wanted and dreamed of because I was loved well. While Phil always thought I would regret giving up medical school, I never did. Yes, there were hard times, but in that choice to give up my dream for what I felt God was calling me to do, and in choosing the choice that all felt was totally wrong, my life grew.


In loss, there is the same choice. While I would give my own life to have Phil back, there is nothing I can do to bring him back. Nothing. The choice is in celebrating life, keeping my eyes focused on the here and present, and in trusting the woman that was loved well for 23 years. Time will pass regardless of if I stay paralyzed with grief and indecision, or if I take a step in faith. The future is not a given, but in trusting in my faith and in myself, the blessing will come.


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