This day came

I never wanted this feeling to come. I knew it would happen, but I wanted to believe it wouldn’t. Even though it doesn’t feel wrong, it sure sounds wrong. And even though I know it’s good, I want everyone to tell me it’s bad.

The fact is… I’m okay.

I’m okay that it’s been 3 years since Stephanie died.
I’m okay that I have hated so many moments since then.
I’m okay on this day — an anniversary of the most awful kind.
As I think about the future, I’m okay.
When I think about the past, I’m okay.
I’ve been through the fire, but God didn’t let me burn, and the scars are just a reminder that He heals all wounds.

But there’s a part of me that still wants it to hurt. There’s a part of me that wants to live with an open wound that gets poked and scraped in unbearable ways. It helps me to know that I haven’t forgotten her. It also makes me depend on God constantly. And frankly, it gives me something to complain about. In fact, it makes for a pretty good trump card when others are complaining about their own lives. (I can’t deny the fact that I’ve done it.)

People warned me this day would come. (Or, as they saw it, they were encouraging me that this day would come.) As I said back then, I had a love-hate relationship with time. I loved that it brought me closer to healing, but hated that it took me further from Stephanie. And even then, I could feel the healing brought by every moment that came and went.

I don’t want to be okay. But I’m glad that I am. And I doubt the day will ever come when that makes sense, let alone that I’ll be able to explain it to anyone.

So please forgive me if I’m not sure how to answer when you ask me how I’m doing. I still want to say, “This sucks! I hate it!” and burst into uncontrollable sobs. And there’s a part of my heart that will always feel that way and do exactly that. But don’t be too surprised that I can genuinely say, “I’m doing quite well, actually.” It’s not a lie. It’s just an answer that seems brand new to me.

13 thoughts on “This day came”

  1. From my own feeble point of view, I think Stephanie would be OK with your being OK. I think that’s how she would want it…for you to be OK, and get on with it with genuine joy, hope, and expectation. Your guilt isn’t fruitful even if it is seemingly reasonable. Losing her will never not hurt in some way, no matter how many blessings God may show you on your journey. Continually gaining perspective is a function of God and time alone. You’ll get to a place where you’re OK with being OK. You will. In the meantime, she’s always as close as your own heart. Peace to you and the kids.

  2. Remembering Stefanie should be the happiest times in your life you found a women that you loved and you were able to make 2 beautiful children with her and memories that no one can every take away, she would be smiling and laughing to see that you and the kids were happy and she would not like it if you didn’t live your life and help the kids live there’s to the fullest that they possibly could. Help them remember her keep her in your heart while there she will always be with you, just remember that it is ok to make room for someone else in there to I really don’t think she would want you to be alone forever either!!!

  3. Brad,
    I am always touched and renewed in my faith by reading your blog. I have never met someone who could write and express their feelings so well on paper (or should I say computer.) Have you ever considered writing a book? I never knew Stephanie, but was drawn to your blog through a friend of a friend. My husband and I have prayed for you many, many times. It sounds to me like God has blessed you with much wisdom, especially raising your children. If Stephanie was alive, I am sure she would tell you you are doing a great job! May God continue to be with you in your journey and I know he will bring others to you who have experience the same kind of ‘loss’ in their life. To God be the Glory, Amen!

  4. It’s awesome to hear you say “I’m okay” and mean it. You’ve felt more pain in the past three years than others will feel in a lifetime. You shouldn’t feel guilty for receiving the peace that you (and others) have prayed for. There’s incredible maturity behind the words in this post and you worked hard for them. You continue to inspire me and everyone around you.

  5. Brad,
    You are such a strong person. Your strength has amazed us over these past 3 years, and we have grown because of it. God bless you and your dear children. You are a great example and inspiration to us all and we are so glad that you are doing ok.

  6. Brad, I came to your website through Tricia’s (Tricialottwilliford.wordpress.com)and ended up reading your beautiful, painful testimony of Stephanie’s life and homegoing. I thoroughly identify as I lost my first husband to brain cancer 11 years ago. Thank you for journaling that pain and your process of healing. You’re a good man and I pray you and your children will soon step into that new life with the wife and mother He has been preparing for you and preparing you for.

  7. Thank you for writing this! I am a widow of 4 years and 4 1/2 months with two kids – 9 and 11. I lost my husband to cancer, and although he battled bravely, I could see his decline especially towards the end. Even though I knew he would die (I didn’t want to admit it to myself), his death was sudden and unexpected – he died from complications during a routine surgery. For me, the fourth year was the hardest – I struggled with health issues, depression, I isolated myself (unintentionally), and I battled insomnia. Through numerous circumstances God gave me the opportunity to move in to a smaller home closer to family, and He has lifted the depression and health issues. He is so good! I can truly say that “I am OK”, and I’m OK with that.

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