I’ve been thinking and talking about death too much lately. But we go through seasons in life. And for me this season has been the last two years, 21 months to be exact.
Backtrack a little over two years ago and I was working at North Coast Church. After 10 years in ministry, I felt a clear prompting to leave my job in shift into business with my husband. We prayed. We checked wise counsel. We consulted scripture. Jump.
Six months into the new career, I was overwhelmed with doubts as to whether it was the right decision. Whether I had actually felt a prompting or was it just bad food I had eaten.
So 4th of July, we sat on the patio with Tom and Barbara and talked about my changes, my anxiety, and ever increasing doubt. At the same time, Tom and Barbara shared that Tom had gotten some bad blood work back, but they were confident there was nothing wrong because he was feeling so good.
A month later Mick and I were visiting the redwoods up in Northern California walking among the massive trees. All you can hear is the rustle of the leaves and we felt like we should be whispering, we were in God’s territory now. As I walked along, my doubts and anxiety washed away as I clearly heard God speaking to me. I left knowing deep within my soul that this was a time for me to be there for Tom and Barbara. I think at that moment, down deep I knew that Tom wouldn’t make it.
Two months later almost to the day, I sat at Tom’s bedside in the hospital and promised him that I would be there for Barbara. That I would make sure that she was okay, so that he could leave his earthly walk in peace.
Crazy how things happen. The heartbreak of losing Tom was devastating, but I embarked on a year of doctors appointments with Barbara, daily check-ins, lots of calls and texts…more than our share of heart to hearts.
So Barbara got worse, and Barbara got better, and Barbara got worse, and Barbara got better…… until Barbara got worse.
I find it surreal to lose two people you love back to back. Hard to wrap your mind around it. At the same time, it was such an incredible blessing to be of service to these two. I learned so many lessons – in humility, trust, patience, strength, service, did I say patience, joy and love. Makes me want to say “and above all else love.”
Last Friday, we once again headed to Mira Mar National cemetery to add Barbara’s ashes in with Toms. The inscription on the marker now reads, “A Love Story Continues.” And so it does.
Graciously, Tom and Barbara’s kids asked if there was anything I wanted – anything of theirs that held sentimental value. So now Toms straw gardening hat hangs on my office wall. It reminds me of his strength and gentleness, Barbara’s wisdom and humor, and the blessing of everlasting love…above all else love.
“She knew joy was one of her best accessories, so she made up her mind to wear it every day.”