January 2017 marks the most horrific time of my life. My husband of 19 years, Rob, passed away suddenly at age 41. He was not feeling well and ninety minutes after entering the ER, he was gone. I can’t even begin to describe the absolute devastation. I took all my feelings to God.
I didn’t sugarcoat—I was devastated and I wanted answers.
I went to church for comfort, but early on attending would only trigger ugly grief. I was not only beyond sad, but then I felt guilty about how angry I was. The perfect families were all sitting together, the fifty-year married couples with the husband who is lovingly holding the wife’s hand–the life I had imagined had been ripped from us, and I wanted answers.
I leaned hard on my faith, but honestly, in the beginning, I was very resentful.
Those first few weeks were also filled with panic, grief, and gut-wrenching fear. My main focus was—and still is—our daughters and ensuring this would be something they would recover from.
Unfortunately, the topic that came up almost immediately was finances. I couldn’t ignore it, I was going to have to step up and figure this out. Within days, questions surfaced: daily bills, 401K, Social Security, health insurance.
There have been so many moments I look back on in our marriage and I know God was preparing my family. I can remember attending Pre Cana counseling. We were two twenty-year-old, love struck, naïve young people. Our first session, our priest prayed with us, and then one of the very first questions we discussed was “Both of you tell me you thoughts on money and budgets.” Imagine your most dumbstruck face and that was the both of us.
We loved each other, what else would we need? How naïve!
We each had new jobs and decided to immediately take advantage of our 401K. When we had children we purchased life insurance. We visited our budget often. We had a monetary threshold we didn’t spend unless consulting the other. About five years ago we built a house, and we prayed for guidance to ensure we were being financially responsible.
So when this devastating blow hit our family, it was a blessing we were able to grieve and I could take care of my children without worrying where we were going to live. I could put food on the table and my children were able to continue in their current schools.
My hope is this will spark a discussion in your home.
“The greatest and deepest Christians ever met are not the ones who are always happy and cheerful, but they are people who have found God to be faithful in the worst moments in life,” says Dr. Ray Prichard. “Instead of running away from God, they ran toward Him. And they know things about God that the rest of us haven’t yet experienced.”
3 thoughts on “Lessons from Grief”
Yes to all of this!!!! My husband and I teach the finances portion of Pre Cana for our diocese, and your post sounds exactly like what we say. I am so sorry for your devastating loss, but I am grateful that you can focus on healing rather than be consumed by financial hardships as well.
I would add to this to encourage couples to get a Power of Attorney and a universal Power of Attorney for Health Care (HIPPA) on each other. Because sometimes it is not death but health complications that invade daily life. Because of the HIPPA law, spouses do not have a legal right to direct health care, though most doctors will allow you too. This is important if you disagree with the doctor. You also need these to handle insurance claims, file for benefits, etc. You need this even if you procrastinate on drawing up a will because you can’t decide who would take care of the children. I am not an attorney, but I do a lot of referrals and I help family members with health issues.
Maria, what an awful thing to go through at such an early age. When we say our marriage vows we really have no idea what we are really saying. You are so dear to me. God bless.