Today’s guest blog post is written by my friend, mentor, and former boss, Rhonda Bletsh. Thank you for sharing the depths of your grief, love, and gratitude with us, Rhonda.
As the one year anniversary of my husband’s death approaches, I find myself reflecting on all that I have. In those first seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and yes, even months after his death, my despair was so overwhelming that I could only live on autopilot.
People kept reminding me there are seven stages of grief. I was aware without being told. I had already researched grief in 2017 when the devastating news of my husband’s diagnosis was laid upon us. We had made it through so many other health challenges. But, this, what the doctor shared, I knew we wouldn’t make it through this.
I checked out right there in the doctor’s office. I prayed. I begged really. And, then mentally, I gave myself the proverbial slap on the face. No time to wallow; time to shift gears and quiz the doctor.
As most of us do, I’ve suffered many hardships over the course of my life. And, I’m certain there are more to come. How can I be certain? Because God knows.
He knows exactly when we need grace to recover from trying times, and when we need time to rejoice in the moments that lift and repair our souls. He also knows when we need hardships to challenge us and cause us to grow in His love.
I ache to my very core over the loss of my soulmate. Some days I crawl right up into my grief and let it envelop me, all the while grateful. Yes, grateful. Accepting that grief is something for which to be grateful was a concept I fought. I prepared for battle and even challenged God in my talks with Him.
It was difficult to accept. How can one be grateful for such an intensely felt loss? I asked to be shown because I was so very tired of bearing the weight of the armor. I had become battle weary. And, once again, like so many, many times through my life’s path, I realized I couldn’t bear this alone. Yes, I am a strong woman. Strong because of Him. Through Him.
My faith has ebbed and flowed through the years. At times I questioned whether my prayers were heard, or if I was even worthy of my prayers being heard. Only to be shown in His time my prayers, fears and hopes were known.
God placed my husband in my life at just the right moment. Right when I needed a friend. He knew to place my husband in my life right when I needed rescuing. My husband was my angel, then, now and forever. And, I will forever be grateful.
Over the course of our marriage, as with all marriages, we had good times. And, we had our dark times. Through our commitment to each other, to our vows, to ourselves, we survived. And, our relationship became so much more than I ever knew possible. And, while I was thankful, and felt blessed as we walked through the years together, I never experienced gratitude so intensely, until he passed.
When in those first seconds of realizing he was gone and I stood over his body, so many memories flashed through my mind. And, I was grateful. Grateful for the gift that he was to our sons. Grateful that God chose him to be my knight in shining armor here on Earth. Grateful that he was no longer sinking into his abyss.
And, then I checked out; only to quickly check into my crisis solving instincts. Time to face the reality of what needed to get done, and make it happen.
Since that day, I’ve checked in and out as necessary for me to walk the path of grief. Pretty certain I will continue to do so the rest of my life. A piece of me left with him and sometimes moments wash over me. I’ve learned to let it happen. And to remind myself to be grateful. I wouldn’t have these moments had I not had him to walk with me through most of my life.
Now, I go forward. I hope to experience love again. Is it possible to have two soulmates in one lifetime? I don’t know. I’ve asked. If it is meant to be He will reveal him to me, and I will be grateful for His blessing. If not, I will be grateful for all the blessings I have and will be given.
The recent adoption finalization hearing of my only grandchild brought much joy to so many people. As I sat in the courtroom, I was acutely aware that the room was full with people who support my eldest son and daughter-in-law; full of people who love them, and full of people who love our sweet addition to our family.
And, I was grateful.
I will continue to be so in the years to come for all the people who will help guide her as she grows into her own. Grateful for the love she has, is, and will experience. And, even grateful for the challenges she will face in life. For she will grow through them, and experience her own grief, grace, and gratitude.
Because He knows.