When my husband and I got married, almost 4 years ago, we sat down with the priest who was to marry us and had a serious conversation about what marriage means to each of us and why we were getting married. Something that the Father asked us always stuck with me. Father asked: “Will you do everything you can for this marriage? If a spouse cheats, will you abandon the marriage or will you try and fix it? If one of you does something to the other, how will you make it work?”
These questions in ways have been spinning through my mind in the last two weeks as I watched helplessly as my husband struggled/struggles with a grief so deep and powerful I can’t help ease it.
Two weeks ago my husband lost his mom. My mother-in-law had been suffering from a heart condition for the last ten years. She had several surgeries to prolong her life and give her more time. Because of these life giving surgeries, she was able to be at our wedding and be there for the birth of her first grandchild. Tuesday, March 14th, God called her home.
It was sudden, unexpected, and heart-wrenching. My husband was asked to make decisions that no child expects, or wants to make. I have seen the weight of a lifetime come crashing down on his shoulders. I have seen a grief so deep, raw, and hard.
I have struggled to be the wife my husband needs me to be and the one God calls me to be. I have not been the best version of myself at all times. Grief does weird things to people. It makes you say and do things you normally wouldn’t. It puts a blinder on your heart and won’t let you out.
This consuming grief is only made worse when it is unexpected. When the life that is extinguished had so much more to see and the ones left weren’t ready for good bye. Each of us has regrets in these moments and the regrets can eat us up.
However, through this pain I have held on to what Father asked us, “What will you do for your marriage?” If my husband is crumbling, I need to be strong. If my husband is in pain, I need to show him compassion and grace. This pain he feels, I feel it to. I feel it when my son asks for his Oma, when we go to her house and he wanders the halls wondering where she is. I feel it when I am alone and think about the questions I didn’t get to ask my mother-in-law. The million and one things I wanted to know about her.
It is through the Grace of God that we are weathering this storm as a couple and a family. It is through the Grace of God that our employers have been understanding of the time we need. It is through the Grace of God that we have friends that are here for us – texting, calling, sending food. These small acts have been the difference between drowning and surviving and thriving.
While my heart aches at our loss, I know that our spirits will soar and heal with time. If I truly believe in a God, then I know one day we will be united. And until that time, I will hold my baby a little tighter and tell my friends and family how much I love them, because we all owe it to each other to say it as often as we can. Love is the only thing that matters in the end. How much we loved, how hard we loved, how often we shared our love. Love. That’s all there is.