Grief Changes

Found this on Facebook today: “Grief never ends . . . but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love.”

My grief has definitely gone through changes in the 14 months since my sweet guy left me here and went home. I still miss him terribly but it is a different emptiness. Now I am used to being alone as so many of my days are spent by myself. However, the lack of his presence some days is huge! He is not there for me to check on, give him his meds, get ready for another day of caregiving, and be ready to love on him all day.

It seems strange how I would miss the stress of preparing for another day of unknowns taking care of a man after a stroke. We had such a sweet relationship full of love for each other on his lucid days. I miss the blessing of taking care of his needs–all his needs throughout the day. I miss the challenges that forced me to lean on God more than any other time in my life. I miss his beautiful vibrating bass voice from different corners of the house. I miss having to keep my ears open at night to listen for anything needing attention. I miss my sweet guy of 50 years of marriage!

No, I am not weak because I grieve. I am paying the price for loving someone like Jerry through the longevity of our marriage, through the struggles: financial, parenting, communication, and health. The climax of my caregiving days will be the highlight of our marriage forever. How amazing that I was able to take care of him with God’s strength for 22 months.

But now I am alone! I sit at my computer in a place that is constantly changing. This is now my office but Jerry is still here in so many ways. Jerry helped make me become the woman I am today. This morning I listened to this song:

This song is what Jerry did for me. He raised me up throughout our marriage. It was his companionship that allowed me to accomplish what I did and mature as a Christian woman. I am who I am because of who I was married to. I shed many tears listening to the song and realizing how special it is to me now.

Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted  and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” No matter how my grief changes, God will be close to me every step of the way! He will never leave me with my broken heart but will be there to provide healing. What an amazing God I serve.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Working in the greenhouse this morning. What a winter joy!
  • Having lunch with my very special friend, Henry, to help him through his grieving as well.
  • Talking with Mara, a great friend back in Wisconsin (and being thankful I don’t have their 4 feet of snow).
  • Helping take care of the precious twins tonight who are approaching 15 months old.
  • Planning for my daughter’s birthday dinner this weekend with 16 people coming.
  • All of our great international OU students coming (9 of them).
  • Starting my packing for my trip to Israel and Egypt (leaving March 11).
  • My gorgeous orchids.
  • 50 years of marriage that truly changed who I am.
  • God staying close to the brokenhearted.

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Lois Cox, Ph.D., has roots in Dallas, Texas, but met her husband, Jerry, at Oklahoma Christian College, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1966. They married in 1967 and started a life together of serving God in several locations. Seven of their years were in full-time ministry in churches in Midwest City, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Ft. Collins, Colorado. Most of Lois’s career has been spent in education at the high school, technical college, and university levels. Lois holds four degrees in education including a Ph.D. completed in her late sixties in instructional technology and online learning. On February 24, 2016, Lois was plummeted into the role of caregiver for her husband who suffered a rare and serious bilateral thalamic stroke. The next 22 months were spent in full-time care of Jerry in skilled nursing, hospitals, and at home. Jerry passed away December 30, 2017. Since that time Lois has been focusing on sharing her experiences with others to encourage and teach them to depend on the Lord during similar stressful times. Her book, 22 Months with Jerry, will be available soon.

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