Rachel Moore became a widow July19, 2012. She and her husband Gary and their two children Nathaniel and Bethany were missionaries in Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico, when Gary died suddenly of a heart attack. In this first year, Rachel has given away many of their earthly possessions, packed and shipped the rest of their things to the US, made an international move, lived in a family owned apartment for several months to help them transition back to States living, and now has moved into their own personal rental home. At this time she is studying to get her real estate license in order to make a living for herself and her children. With Rachel’s permission, I am sharing something that she has written in her grief journey because I believe it so wonderfully paints a word picture of something that goes on in the heart of a widow.
Today most of our furniture was sold and picked up. We’re down to the extreme bare essentials. I’m feeling very raw today. It’s like more and more of Gary dying as our family furniture disappears. The desk that he prepared for sermons; the bed that we slept in; and the table that we ate together as a family and had so many celebrations with our friends here in Mexico. Everything that we shared together is now gone and my heart is breaking in two. Even the things that we are keeping that remind me of him, such as my Kitchen-Aid mixer that he bought for me, are now packed away in boxes. Our house is empty. It’s empty of things and it’s desolate and void without Gary.
It’s weird, sometimes I forget what his voice sounded like and I get afraid of memories slipping from my consciousness. The pain of loss is deeper than any pain I’ve ever experienced. It’s more real and more intense than childbirth. It can grab me at unexpected times with gut wrenching sobs and a force of pain that I’ve never known before in my life.
And then other times, I fear that I’ll forget how to love. I don’t mean that I won’t remember how to love my children, or my friends, or my God but that I’ll forget what it’s like to love a man. Walking with my fingers intertwined in his was so natural, caressing his ring while we prayed together, and kissing him was such a part of every day life. It’s all starting to feel foreign to me and that is terrifying.
I want to love again but I don’t want to be a teenager again! Gary and I had mature love, we had comfortable love, we had secure love. What would it be like to start all over again? What comfort there is in feeling exuberantly in love and being free to express that love in a multitude of ways within the security and comfort of marriage. There’s no pressure to say the “right” thing because I am already loved and accepted. There isn’t any wondering if I should hold back or dive in, because in either situation the dance of marriage was beautiful.
I always had a talent for creating romance in our marriage. No matter how tired we both were or how stressful life was, I could always create the perfect setting for a relaxing and beautiful evening together. It was the delight of my life to anticipate my beloved’s needs and disappointments in his busy day and orchestrate an evening accordingly.
So yes, I suppose I’m feeling very alone right now and afraid of the future. I am a complex person. I have a “flaming extrovert” side to my personality. I am also a strong leader and can overcome incredible obstacles. But I also have a very introverted, shy and quiet side. In marriage I was able to be a complete person and shared all the aspects of my personality with Gary. I could sing and cook and invite the neighborhood in for dinner but I also needed to sit quietly with my husband and snuggle in without needing or wanting to face any other person other than my husband. It’s in those more introverted times when I miss him the most. The times when I want to let down my hair and not worry about how I look, what my voice sounds like, or what people will think. I’m my beloved’s and he is mine and his banner over me was love. Gary covered me with a protective banner of love. and now at times I feel very naked, exposed and alone. I miss being emotionally carried and comfortable in his arms.
The weird part about all of these emotions is that I must let go of Gary and let the love that we shared rest in the past before I can welcome all these beautiful things back into my life again in the future. We humans do not like pain. We run from it, we flee from it and we abuse chemicals to numb it. Yet, facing the emotional pain of loss is what frees us up move on in our life and to embrace the future.
I believe that Gary’s and my relationship was incredible because we made it incredible. First and foremost we both knew without any doubt that God was calling us to get married. Not just “allowing” us to get married but we felt the mandate to get married! Secondly, we worked hard together to make our marriage a Godly and loving one. This was not an easy journey. We were both strong willed and opinionated people with a truck load of baggage from our past. Yet, we were diligent to work through these things in order to have a wonderful and strong marriage. And that we did! The result was an intimacy that was unparalleled in those around us. We were diligent to become one, in body, soul, and spirit and the resulting marriage was fantastic!
Because of the effort that went into our marriage, I believe that most great marriages come from sacrifice and yielding to God to become a servant to each other. Great marriages don’t just happen, they are created! Gary and I weren’t handed a “story book marriage”, our story was written through the fiery trials of life. We had a marriage filled with diligence, effort and Godliness and the fruit of that was absolutely astounding!
I typically think in analogies so please indulge me with this one:
Let’s say that Great Uncle Hubert died and left our family a perfect mansion that was the epitome of all of our dreams. We lived in this house and loved this home incredibly! But then a storm came, a terrible storm and a tornado force wind drove it’s fury right through the middle of this beautiful house that had been given to us. We were terribly saddened but assumed that Great Uncle Hubert must have taken out a large insurance policy on such a house. Yet, our sadness turned to despair when we realized that the insurance policy had expired. Our home was gone and our dreams had died. We despaired even of life itself!
On the other hand, let’s assume that Great Uncle Hubert willed us a run down old historic house that was falling apart at the seems. “Gee thanks Uncle Hubert!, thanks a bunch!” But instead of wallowing in our complaints we began to clean, paint and restore this old junk heap of a house. Within a year’s time we had a beautiful home that had the creativity of our family all over it. The warmth of the home had our personal tastes, styles and our hard working finger prints as its heart and soul. This wasn’t “Uncle Hubert’s” run down house anymore, this was our family home that was lovingly established by every drop of sweat, every tear of frustration and every paint stained t-shirt in our closet of well worn work clothes!
What if a tornado hit the second house???? We would weep, wail and mourn deeply because the second house had more intimate value in our life. The second house had become part of our very being. We had invested our very lives in the second house and we had become “one” with her. But after our terrible season of grief what would we do??? We would be willing to invest our lives into another home should God bring one into our lives. We did it once and it was incredible, we can certainly start over with another house and restore it beautifully! The second house may be an English Tutor home rather than a farm house. The resulting beauty would be vastly different but it would be incredible just the same!
My marriage to Gary was not handed to me on a silver platter. We worked hard for what we had and our marriage was truly amazing! It wasn’t a once in a lifetime chance at happiness but something that we learned to do and learned to do it very well! 🙂 It is the realization that we worked hard to create something incredible that gives me the strength and hope to press onward to the future. Our marriage wasn’t handed to us on a silver platter but the effort involved showed us that Godliness and servant hood really does bring amazing fruit.
I don’t know what kind of plans God has for me in the future but I do know that as I yield my whole heart continually to His sovereign plan, life will be beautiful again!
So I’m faced with this dance of pain. Do I face the pain head-on in order to heal thoroughly and become whole and healed in Jesus? Or do I run from the pain and get stuck in a never ending cycle of sadness, grief, and regret? As difficult as it is I am face to face with grief and dealing with it deeply, as I walk side-by-side with my savior. I am committed to allowing Him to conform me more and more into the image of Christ and to mold my heart more closely to His own. Therefore, I set my eyes on Christ and on Christ alone as I press onwards the future! He will make a way for life to be beautiful again!
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” Is. 43:18-19