I’ve received many thoughtful emails and texts this week as loved ones have wondered how I am doing, and what I’m doing. Here’s the latest update.
Tonight I’m sitting in a familiar place (the ER) and thinking to myself—this is a “Trumpetlungs” moment! So, here’s the story. My cousin came for Tom’s service and decided to winter in sunny California rather than return immediately to her home in the frigid north. We’ve been “hanging out,” as my grandkids like to say, and fitting in visits with family and a few fun excursions in-between working on some redecorating projects, etc. Somewhere along the way, Marilyn picked up the flu which has now become a case of pneumonia as well. She’s had a history of very serious health problems recently, so to be on the safe side, the doctor has just admitted her to the hospital. Not sure how long she will be here, but I’ve smuggled in some mint brownies to her hospital room, which should speed recovery provided they give her coffee to go with them. She says hi and thank you for praying!
A real time picture of my beloved fun cousin, Marilyn:
What’s been going on other than this? I’ve actually been quite busy getting a lot of things back in order after a long period of “caregiver neglect.” Those of you who have lived the life of constant caregiving know exactly what I’m talking about—we tend to prioritize the caregiving as first priority and rank everything else under it. The more involved the caregiving, the more our mundane tasks drop off the radar and get relegated to the “it will have to wait” pile. And when the long season of caregiving is over, the pile of things that had to wait scream for attention! The roses would still be waiting if it weren’t for good friends who have been working hard to get them back in shape. (The blooms this spring should be spectacular! You are welcome to visit during the peak month of May.) Thanks to other good friends, my garage actually looks like a garage rather than a storage shed and lots of things are finding new homes where they will be appreciated! I have a lot left to do, but I’m encouraged with the progress.
Meanwhile, I’m still working on transferring accounts and developing a budget and a financial strategy I’m comfortable with. Tom left me with things in order and provided for my welfare, but he wisely understood I wouldn’t be working things out on an Excel spreadsheet in his executive manner of doing things! I’m thankful he gave me complete support and freedom to rearrange things after his departure, but with freedom comes responsibility and a greater need for wisdom and discernment. Needless to say, time with the Lord before I start my day has been the single most important thing I do to maintain emotional equilibrium.
Yes, I continue to experience profound grief as I miss Tom immensely. When two people’s lives are interwoven as tightly as ours were, for as long as ours were, the changes in everyday life and reminders of a loved one’s absence are constant. Adjustment is going to take time. I tend to be a private mourner, but there are times when grief spills out when least expected. I consider this a part of readjusting as well as a good, not bad, time of remembering. Sometimes it’s good to take time to cry, before redirecting my attention and focus forward. By far, the most difficult day of the week is Sunday and most difficult time of the day, evening.
I believe grief is a natural human response to loss, regardless whether we are Christian believers. It is a complex reaction that sometimes brings us into the darkest valley of human experience at some time in our lives. Our great consolation as believers is that Jesus promised to go through it with us, and that is a precious promise that is truly incredible, for the only way through it is through it. Even more wonderful, our Lord promises to strengthen and sustain us as we lean on Him and trust Him with our sorrows. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22) Christians should never make their permanent abode in the fog of sorrow, but are to press forward, through it, the Lord leading us ever onward.
The peace of God is freely poured out upon those who come to the well of living water—Jesus Christ Himself. Because believers enjoy the benefits of the indwelling Christ who, (as well as the Holy Spirit and God the Father) comforts them, they have a wonderful resource available that enables them to find peace, even in the midst of life’s deepest sorrows and disappointments. “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given [us] everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” (2 Thess. 2:16-17) This truth makes all the difference in the world when we experience sorrow. The comfort of the Lord has been a reality every day as I have walked with Him and brought Him all my cares.
Questions I’ve been asked . . .
Someone asked, “What’s the worst thing someone has said to you since Tom’s home going?” Wow, that’s a tough question to answer! I’ve been surrounded by so many loving and thoughtful people that it’s not at the forefront of my mind. I think the hardest thing to hear are comments that weave through the “grapevine” suggesting I need to remarry. Friends, let me assure you that no grieving heart that is very much in love with a spouse, though in Heaven, finds this amusing or comforting. Rather, it is actually quite grievous. Right now, I would rather be the widow of Tom Pryde than the wife of any other man. And I suspect I will say this until I, too, enter Heaven.
Someone asked, “Are you going to be moving soon?” No! I have no plans to leave California, sell my house, join another church, drop any ministry or change what I’ve been doing. Lord willing, I will continue speaking, writing, counseling, teaching TLC, and serving at Lighthouse Baptist Church.
Someone asked, “What is your greatest need right now?” Besides needing to master the smart TV and a plethora of other “smart” house gadgets that have me in derision daily, I need wisdom to make decisions and solve the logistics of a solo life. Looming ahead, after settling the basic issues of living and getting house repairs done, is the need to find someone who can redo and manage my website. I have some very specific ideas, so this is a huge matter of prayer right now.
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamentations 3:21-25)