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Ten Years After Loss, Still Living ... and Still Loving Life

Ten Years After Loss Still Living and Still Loving Life

By Theresa Anthony, author of In Search of Gopher Hollow

If anyone had told me back in mid-2013 that I would soon be losing the two most important men in my life, I would have laughed at them. What a horror to even imagine such a thing! Yet, that is exactly what happened.


First, in October 2013 I lost my precious son, and then nine months later in July 2014 I lost the love of my life. Just like that, these beautiful men who meant everything in the world to me were gone.


Trust me, nothing can prepare you for enduring multiple losses – significant losses – like these. Even a crystal ball couldn’t have prepared me for the devastating pain that was to come. But had I been warned, what else could I do but walk alongside them, loving them and supporting them through each of their illnesses until the end?


Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8


As the tenth memorial anniversary of my beautiful man looms, I can’t help but think about this journey I have been on since his passing. The grief journey is wild, unpredictable, and at times unbearably painful. I know firsthand that grief can utterly consume you if you let it, having sat there on the edge of the deep, dark tunnel that threatens to swallow you whole. There were times, in the early months after losing these wonderful men, one after the other, that I wished for death. The pain was literally that searing and unrelenting.


Fortunately, with the grace of God, I was able to battle through the darkest of days. I surprised myself, finding I had still some fight left in me. I managed to put one foot in front of the other, month after month and then year after year, until now reaching July 2024.


On the 13th of July it will mark ten whole years since my beloved man took his last breath. Never will I forget that day. After his body had been taken away and the house was emptied of loved ones, it was just me with my tear-soaked face sitting there at the top of my stairs in sheer disbelief. The quiet in the house was deafening. Just nine months prior, both of them were living in the house with me, grilling burgers and watching movies and cheering on the Angels. But there I now sat alone, so utterly alone.


Looking back, I can see how far I have travelled on that grief journey. If the journey could be conveyed as a colorful graphic, that period would have been displayed as blazing red. As time passed, a less piercing shade of orange replaced the red, and now I would describe the path as a quiet yellow – although still those spurts of red can pop up here and there unannounced.


As bad as it was, my innermost desire to find joy in life forced itself back up to the surface. I wasn’t ready to be a member of the walking dead, no, I wanted to live. I still wanted to wake up every day and find something, no matter how small, to love about my life. Granted, I haven’t always been successful at this joy-finding mission, but at least I have never thrown in the towel.


As someone who’s lost both a child and a spouse/life partner, my wish is to be an example of hope for those who are early on in their grief journeys. If you feel like you died, or wish you had, I can personally attest that those feelings are real and valid.


The good news is that you, like me, will look back someday and be grateful that you didn’t die. You, too, will once again find beauty and goodness and joy in your days like I have. Trust me, if I can still find something to live for, so can you.



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