God granted me him for 25 years in a relationship, longer if you count being classmates and friends. He knew that was long enough to learn about unconditional love from a non-family member, to become a mom, to understand marriage, to grow in my faith, to learn the hard way about honesty and budgeting, to learn what being a partner involves and to know and feel loved and wanted.
Since Steve died, I've also learned that my faith was what was most important. Without it I couldn't have loved, been a mom or a wife and our marriage wouldn't have been as strong. My trust in God allowed me to grieve, to be sad, depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, angry, hurt, confused, scared and at the same time so happy and blessed to have had him. My faith allowed me to be okay some days, to get out of bed, to comfort others, to believe in myself, to increase my confidence, to be still, to ask questions and be okay not getting the answers, and to know that I'm loved no matter who is in this physical world or watching us from in heaven.
Through prayer and journaling, meditation and healing, through myofascial release and through counseling, I worked with my faith, my body, my soul, my mind and my spirit to allow peace to enter, to use my strength to find joy and allow myself to feel happy, good, okay and to accept that whatever I feel is what is meant to be. I'm allowed to be okay and not okay at the same time.
There's no wrong in grief. No specified rules. No timelines. No book to say what to do or how to do it. We each just need to travel to joy on our own and accept help and healing along the way. Our loved ones would want us to be happy. They did when they were here. That hasn't changed because their bodies aren't here and we don't get to go for a long car ride with them.
The signs Steve gave me; leaving quarters, moving the shower curtain to touch my leg, and a fruit fly in a strange place, all were saying, you've got this. You're good. Suck it up buttercup. I'll always love you. Be happy.
Moving forward, I know I need to make decisions for myself based on what's right for me. I should have always been doing this but I didn't. I always wanted everyone to be happy and at peace and I still do but I also now want that for myself and realize it's not separate. I can be happy and others can be happy at the same time even if they don't trust my choices.
Thank you God for always being there and for giving me Steve, his family and my family and friends and to be supportive and to love me unconditionally.
Every morning I write a couple lines that I hear God saying to me. Here is what I wrote this morning after this journal write:
I love you unconditionally and so do your family and friends. Steve did and still does too. I want you to be happy and that will ultimately happen when you get to heaven. You are on that path but you need to share more of the trip with others. You are a travel agent helping others see my way. To know that I am the truth, the way, the life and that love is all that matters.
All year I have been reading daily reflections from a book called "Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Gary Zimak. Here was the reflection for today:
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. (Lamentations 3: 22)
As much as we try to love unconditionally, we fail far too often. We might be able to forgive someone once or twice, but eventually we reach our limit. God, however, doesn't operate that way; his love is unconditional. He is so merciful that he will never stop forgiving us for our sins. This is a great meditation for you, especially if you're having a bad day. no matter what you are facing, you can take comfort in the fact that God loves you unconditionally. nothing you can ever do will change that. If you think about it enough, you will start to feel very grateful. Eventually you may even forget your worries and cares.
God, thank you for loving me unconditionally. Teach me to extend mercy to others, showing them a love without any strings attached."
I absolutely love when God works in this way! He puts words in my heart that I can then share. Then he connects it to everything else I do in my life. I know I am meant to share my journey with as many people that are open to hearing it.