Thursday, January 14, 2016
When Jeff breathed his last breath I was holding his hand and my head was resting on his chest. His mom was sitting close by. The boys were playing legos upstairs. My mom was taking Zoe outside to chew on something other than legos. And in those minutes of breathing stilled and his heart beating slowing to a stop it all came into focus. Jeff was free. He had suffered greatly. But he had suffered with a dignity and grace few have experienced. It was all real, all worth it, there were no regrets on how poured out his life was for God and others. There was such a peace in knowing his race was finished. He was created for Heaven and he was home. And then the understanding slowly unfolded that I was still here. My feet were still planted on the broken world he just left. While he was standing unhindered before the God who made him I climbed the stairs to face the boys with a heavy heart. I was left. In those first minutes I experienced the full depth of peace and hope that all was well and all will be made right. I also experienced a soul wrenching separation. And ending of what I knew to be good. I was overjoyed for Jeff and heartsick for us.
So much has been taken it is hard not to notice that what is left standing. My boys, family, friendships that survive an ocean apart, and friendships that are still here. God can rebuild and provide the rest. He has already started to. I drive the van we sold to go to Scotland. It was given back for me to drive again. Given. The games, puzzles, legos, and toys that were left in Scotland were replaced in one week. The week of Christmas. Margaret and I were excited and then became concerned as the pile of brown packages grew into a mountain. More gifts were delivered from a school I taught at in Culpeper. I had talked to the boys of how we were rich in the things money could not buy. And they smiled broadly and said now we are rich in both. The presents did not give the boys their father back, or me a husband. The presents did however, remind us that we were not alone. That the fear of not being provided for was unfounded. We live in a beautiful house on beautiful land with a very gracious grandma. A grandma who has gone from one quiet grey cat to three loud boys, their mama, and a cheeky puppy. We will stay here for the next few months as we grieve, receive, and prepare for what is next.
And this place we find ourselves is terrifying and wonderful all mixed together. The grieving is not just crying, and missing, and wondering why. The grieving is a deep homesickness for Jeff and a learning to live in the next chapters being written. We have heartbreaking moments of wanting Jeff here. I still grab my cell phone to call him. I still roll over reaching out to scratch his back. I still pour out my heart every single morning to a God I trust but don't understand. But we are not walking in and out of rooms and days sad. We are honoring Jeff by living. And not taking our breath, strong legs, and changed eyesight for granted. We are adventuring, laughing, and making lasting memories every single day. Grieving right now is all encompassing. It is as if we get to climb glorious mountains and trudge through perilous valleys all in one day. Every day. It is exhausting, but it lets us see God's fingerprints on so many things, including our hearts.
I will continued to be paid as a part time Young Life International staff. We will also continue to be covered by our medical insurance. This will continue into the following months as we figure out what is next. I am so grateful for the support of amazing staff in Young Life that are standing with us in the transition. We will continue to pray about the possibility of returning to Scotland in the future. I know for now God has placed us here and we are starting to plug into a church and community around us. Please continue to pray for us. The hardest moments seems to be at night, as the sun sinks and the stars come out. We miss him most then. Pray that we will not feel shortchanged, but see the ridiculous amount of blessing surrounding us. The boys had more in Jeff as a father than most men will have in a lifetime. I will not write as often but hope to continue to update you all as we take steps into what is next. Much love, Becca and the boys