When Julia, our daughter first started to walk my husband Wesley and I watched, hands cautiously braced to catch her fall and fully expecting her first halting and tentative steps to end in tears and bumped foreheads. But she was sure-footed and confident her brown eyes shining with an air of, “I’ve got this Mama and Daddy-o” as she let go of the couch to walk towards us and the ever-ready video camera. She wanted to be sure she could do it before her chubby little fingers ever left the safety of the armrest, but once she let go she had no doubt that she would reach the other side.
I guess that is true in these more recent first steps that I have taken as a new, young and completely unprepared widow. I was not ready to embark on talking about my experience of Wesley’s death and my mourning until my feet were steadier, my eyes more fixed and my heart could start to speak.
Wesley died in our home on Saturday, March 30th, 2013 at 37 years old. What we thought was a stomach flu but was truly an aggressive undiagnosed form of leukemia that we had no idea he was battling. A young, robust man who a week before was chasing our daughter around our large front yard pretending to be “Papa Bear” to our own blonde Goldilocks passed away in our living room thinking he just had become dehydrated overnight. We all thought that.
I want to express how I’m navigating the unsteady days and weeks that spread before me, how a child who is grieving the death of her father walks this path with her mother, how our faith shapes our journey and to be a beautiful tribute to a man whose life was shaped by kindness and compassion and love. And much like this experience I do not know where I’m going yet.
I’m just needing to talk…