How tenderly

“To the widow of the departed Christian, there is another ingredient in the cup of her sorrow, another aggravation of the loss she has sustained, and that is—she is deprived of her own spiritual comforter and companion…How tenderly did he solve her doubts, relieve her perplexities, and comfort her in her sorrows. How sweet was it to take counsel with him on the things of the eternal world, and to walk to the house of God in company…but that tongue is now silent in the grave; those holy hands are now no more lifted up to bless the household; that mild scepter of paternal rule has dropped.” – The Widow Directed to the Widow’s God by John Angell James, 1841

Chuck was very tender when it came to handling my questions, my complaints, my sadness. He was patient with me.

I find I can walk into the house of worship alone, but sometimes I can’t make it through the service without tears. But, I did today, so it was a good day. I keep responding that I have good days and bad when people ask. It seems to have become strings of good days and strings of bad days.

“…those holy hands are now no more lifted up to bless the household; that mild scepter of paternal rule has dropped.” I found this to be so true during this first Christmas without Chuck. I had hoped to step into his place and lead the family in scripture reading and prayer, but it just didn’t happen. And I felt like a failure. I don’t know how to be the spiritual head of my family. This is part of the cup of my sorrow.

My Solace

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No Hard Feelings by the Avett Brothers has been my solace for the past year, though at times I’ve had to skip it on my playlist because it almost always makes me cry. I lost my mother-in-law in August 2017, then my Mom in February 2018, and today my dog, Loretta. Yes, I understand there are huge differences in losing a pet vs. a person, but when one comes on the heels of the other it is just nearly too much.

The song begins
“When my body won’t hold me anymore
And it finally lets me free
Will I be ready?”

I wasn’t ready to let any of them go, but in Loretta’s case, I think SHE was ready. She had a good life and enriched ours in so many ways.

Then
“When my feet won’t walk another mile.”
My dog, Loretta, hit this point  so suddenly last night I can’t wrap my head around it. She was fine and peppy one minute, then lethargic and unresponsive the next. She perked up once for a few minutes, a sort of last hurrah I guess, then just could hardly move. My husband carried her to our room where we’d made her a soft blanket “pallet” to lie on. We finally fell asleep, but both awoke at 2AM to sit on the floor beside her as she drew her last breath. I can only guess it was her heart giving out.

Listen to this song – more than once if you can. It is overflowing in meaning and may be a balm for YOUR spirit.