I had a feeling that Sue was going to die weeks before God took her home. I was burnt-out and had determined that I would take a long trip after she passed. I would drive to visit my aunt in Florida, an uncle in Mississippi, and then slowly make my way to the northwest to visit a friend who owns a guest ranch in Idaho. I would return when I was ready.
I never made that trip or any trip by myself until now. It seemed too strange to go anywhere alone. How could I enjoy the time without my wife? Over the years we had gotten away, just the two us, many times. The desire to get away was gone!
Over the holidays I knew life was wearing a bit thin in places. I knew I needed to force myself to get away. An email caught my attention, and I opened it. Within a few minutes I had made a nonrefundable reservation at the Lake Junaluska Conference Center in North Carolina. No turning back. They were running an off-season special.
Yesterday was my first full day here. I drove about thirty minutes down the road to Cherokee, North Carolina. My wife’s family would often go there when she was little, and she and I had driven through and stayed in the general area many times over the years. I wasn’t expecting the emotion I felt. I drove, but I didn’t get out. I didn’t even stop. The memories were painful because she and I will never travel here or anywhere together again. Together doesn’t exist anymore!
A few hours later I was on a lengthy phone call with a friend who was struggling. In the midst of his struggle, he had achieved brief success - his first in many years. I encouraged him to focus on his success. After the call I applied the advice to myself. My time with Sue is forever gone. I am very thankful for what we had, and I am choosing to be thankful for what is to come. I am enjoying my relaxing getaway. I will enjoy my new normal, one-day at a time.
ThankFULLness is a choice!
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