December 20, 2017

a spark

“Why don’t you write anymore?”

I paused and looked down to escape my friend’s gaze. I didn’t know how to answer that. “I don’t know. I guess I don’t make time to write anymore…”

While that is actually true, it’s not really the reason I stopped sharing my journey. I stopped sharing my journey because I was afraid of being judged. I thought maybe people were tired of hearing about how sad it is to rebuild your life. I just needed a minute to live in my head and keep to myself.

It’s been One year and seven months since my husband quietly slipped away from us. I can still close my eyes and be back in that hospital room, holding my breath and praying for a miracle. One year and seven months of rebuilding, moving on, finding balance, and making mistakes.

Two years ago I was a missionary pilot’s wife and homeschooling mama getting ready to return to our jungle home in South America. Two years ago I was jealous of an airplane who got more of my husband’s time than I did, and I would go and spend hours scraping paint, filming progress, and hanging out in the hangar just to be with him. Two years ago I was in the full swing of Christmas joy and holiday excitement. Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses and trees and lights and all the things. Two years ago I had no idea that in one week he would suddenly get sick.

We had Christmas, and then we had cancer.

Christmas isn’t what it used to be. I hold onto the memories of our last Christmas as our very last days together as a normal, happy family. I’m thankful for the gift of that last Christmas. But Christmas is also a marker of the end for me.


You know what I miss the most? Our time together on the sofa after we put the kids to bed. The time when we could just chat and hang out and be together. And those moments where he’d come home and just hug me for long moments. And falling asleep at night talking. I miss our inside jokes. I miss praying together. I miss walking hand-in-hand.

Oh, my heart.

The pain hasn’t really lessened. It’s changed. But my heart still feels a void I can’t explain. I have a dull ache in that emptiness that is my constant companion.

But I’m finding a spark of new life in a way I never expected.

I thought that the only way I would ever feel whole again is if I found someone to give all this love to. All the love that has no where to go. If I could just find someone they would fill the hole in my heart, I thought…

I dated way too early trying to fill the void. It was what I needed to try, and I made some good friends in the process, but time revealed to me that, like it or not, I had to go through the process of grief. And it is a process. And I’m going to be in process for quite some time.

But as time goes on, I am finding that my emptiness can be filled in other ways. I am substitute teaching right now, and stepping back into the classroom lit a spark inside me I had nearly forgotten about. I love teaching. I love ministering to young people. I could spend my whole life watching their faces as they learn and grow. I have a newfound mission and calling. I never thought I could be as fulfilled as I was as a missionary, but teaching… teaching fills my heart by the bucketload.

In a week it will be two years since my world came crashing down around me. I will relive all the things we did each day. The day he got sick. The day I took him to the hospital and we heard the word “cancer,” The day I flew him out to Seattle to start treatment right away, the day we left to drive out to be with him, etc. I can close my eyes and be in those moments like I lived them yesterday.

But in a week something else is going to also be happening - I’m starting to apply for full-time teaching positions. I can’t think of anything else, other than being a missionary in the jungle, that I would want to do with my life.

This last year and a half has been a crash-course in so many things. I basically went from living in my dad’s house to living with my husband (there was a short time in between when Todd and I were dating). Until my husband died, I literally had never made a decision on my own. My dad helped me buy my first car and get insurance and all the teenage things, and then my husband helped me decide just about everything after that until a year and 7 months ago.

And since then, I have purchased our tiny home on wheels, spent countless hours renovating and repairing it, put my kids in school, got a job, and on and on. I think that Todd would be proud of me. I hope he would be. I want him to be.

So, this is where I’m at in this journey. I’ve gotten used to being on my own and if God has someone out there for me, I will be happy when that time comes. But if there isn’t someone out there for me, if Todd was my someone and my only someone, I’m OK with that too. Those fifteen years with him were the best fifteen years of my life. I’m blessed to have them.

I’m trying not to be a grinch for my children’s sake. But if you don’t hear much from me for the coming weeks, I’ll be alternating between applying/praying for a teaching position, and cuddled up with my pup living inside my own head a bit.


SandraH said...

So beautifully expressed! Thanks for allowing us a moment to see inside your head for a bit!
And by the way, the kids love having you as a sub. You will be, and already are, an awesome teacher!

TN Quiltbug said...

You are such a blessing to the children who have you both as teacher and as mama! You remain in my prayers. Thank you for sharing this slice with us. It helps me to grow into a better person, helps me understand just a little bit, helps me to pray better.

Kelley said...

I check your blog often for updates. Thank you for sharing your heart.

Unknown said...

Hang in there Cass, You will overcome, I know you will. You will find your balance in Christ again.

FYI: They desperately need teachers - five to be exact - in Paurima, (not sure of the spelling, Guyana currently. Just in case you want to return. Otherwise, teachers are desperately needed in Bolivia and other places, should you want to be a missionary again.

You are so very talented! I can hardly wait for you to heal and shine again! I KNOW you will friend!I believe in you!

May God shower down on you and yours blessings and peace.

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