If I could be honest, I completely forgot that Valentine’s Day was coming up this week, I know, terrible right? Scrolling through my social media feed this morning, it finally dawned on me, “It’s Valentine’s Day!”. From beautiful couples expressing their love for each other to confident single gals sharing their GAL-entine’s Day plans, there was a wide variety of love to spread. But for some reason, I began to feel a little sad. Not for what seems to be the obvious, as you all know that it’s only been two years since my husband has passed, but because I knew there were lots of hearts deeply grieving today.
Grieving not only happens as a result of the physical death of a person, but also happens when experiencing the end of something or someone we never thought we’d have to say goodbye to. The unexpected and abrupt goodbyes are the ones that cause deep wounds and cracks in our hearts that seem irreparable. Those are the ones that feel like life has literally taken the breath out of our lungs, where the light of morning felt so distant, and darkness began to feel like home. I was there once. It didn’t take for anyone to die for me to experience what grieving felt like. Nothing compares to the physical death of a person you love deeply, but it sure does come pretty close when the person you are grieving is still alive. Their heartbeat is still on this earth, yet somehow a death occured and all you can see are the ashes of what once was.
There are defining moments in our lives where we must decide what our ashes will represent. Will they represent the sudden birth of a rebellious you? Or will they be the very thing that catapults you to fight back?
I chose to fight back. And today, of all days, I find myself extending my arm to the heart that hasn’t been strong enough to fight back. My heart and prayers carry the weight of that single woman that doesn’t recognize her worth, of that wife fighting for her marriage behind closed doors, of that daughter who’s Daddy never knew how to love her; and of that widow that finds herself missing her husband. My heart grieves with you tonight.
There is a love that I never truly knew existed until I experienced one of the greatest loses in my life. That love was the one thing that carried me through when I felt like life was over for me. In moments where I felt like sadness gripped my heart, it was that love that made its way and loosed me from the comfort of laying with my ashes.
That love was Jesus.
I’m not going to sit here and write you a happy ending or tell you that my life is perfect after encountering this love, because it isn’t. What I will say is that my life has forever changed. Triggers will come and go, grief will sting and bring moments of sadness, but God is still there. Still, there. I am a living testament that God will allow your name to come across the hearts of people that will love on you, on this side of Heaven. There has been countless times where I’d cry out to God with despair to ask if He had forgotten about me, but He had already gone before me. It is in that very moment, before you even thought it, God already arranged for love to meet you there. Whether it be a “random” text from a friend checking in, an unexpected Starbucks gift card sent just for you or an email from a stranger expressing their gratitude toward you, God’s love will do things that will soothe the ache of grief.
Today I celebrate love. A love I never knew existed yet was always there before the beginning of time.
love, Michelle Ana