In the Midst of Sorrow
Nov 7, 2021 | by The Fellowship
Around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, August 18, I got a call saying that my husband, 56, had been in a car accident on his way to work, and I needed to get to the hospital immediately. I phoned my sister in Houston to alert friends in our Zoom prayer group at The Fellowship and called my church here in Baltimore to ask the people in our small congregation to pray.
At the hospital, I was given a puzzling runaround about where to find my husband. The staff kept asking, “Do you have someone who can be with you?” So I texted a friend to come. Then I was ushered into a small, private waiting room to meet with a doctor. By this point, I had feelings of dread that something was very wrong.
When the doctor came, he said, “We did everything possible, but your husband did not make it.” A truck in opposing traffic had swerved over into my husband’s lane and hit his car head-on.
In shock, I was escorted to two chaplains for prayer. My friend arrived and also the policeman in charge of the accident investigation. He gave me my husband’s wallet and personal effects from the car. Then my friend drove me home. We picked up two of our three dogs at doggy daycare. The other one, who dislikes strangers, was kenneled because of unfamiliar people who would be coming to my house.
It all seemed like an “out of body” experience -- that I was observing this happen to someone else. The reality was just too hard to process. How could my beloved husband of nine years be gone? What marvelous memories I had of our many hiking and traveling adventures! He loved the outdoors and was avidly involved in grizzly bear conservation. My husband was a much-loved leader, mentor, and a public servant who worked 34 years for the U.S. government. He adored sports, both participating and following his favorite professional teams. Very precious to him were our three dogs – Moxie, Kodiak and Grizzly.
I could not even pray, but felt comfort in knowing that many who care about me were fervently lifting me before the Lord. The answers to their prayers started immediately. My older sister, who lives with her husband and three kids in Cornwall, New York, dropped everything and drove down to be with me. She arrived that evening. My other sister in Houston had Covid, so could not come until later.
My close friend in Florida started the two-day drive on Saturday and arrived on Sunday when my sister had to leave. Other friends in Nebraska and New York took turns coming to stay with me so I would not be alone.
There was a steady stream of people coming through my house with all kinds of food, paper supplies, and everything else imaginable. Among them were my two bosses who told me to take off as much time as I needed from my job and not to worry.
Because Covid was spiking, an indoor memorial service was not advised. But my husband’s co-workers conducted a service in an outdoor area at work. Great stories were shared and many tributes given to my wonderful spouse.
More than 100 cards arrived, some from friends my husband had not seen since high school. There were beautiful plants including one with a lovely orange flower, even though the giver did not know it was his favorite color. A bonsai plant came from my volleyball friends of nearly a decade ago. Unexpected generosity greeted me continually – like no charge for the dog I had kenneled or for my physical therapy massage. And a co-worker came to fix my leaky kitchen faucet.
My husband and I had season tickets to the Washington Mystics, the local WNBA team. I contacted our ticket agent about reselling my husband’s tickets. Friends urged me to keep going to games with them as a good distraction from grief. I bought a team sweatshirt with an orange emblem as a memorial for my husband. Somehow the team heard about it and asked me to bring the sweatshirt back so they could all sign it. The vice president of sales arranged for me to meet my husband’s favorite player. She was wonderful, giving me her personal cell phone number and also a signed T-shirt! The Lord was providing moments of joy in the midst of my sorrow!
The Bible verse that has sustained me through this most difficult time in my life is Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. And so I trust that God will continue to surround me with His presence, love and provision. I am facing the challenges of life without my husband by focusing on my Lord.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.