Greater is the One

Earth and stars

The nature of my writing has grown with the changes I have gone through on my grief journey. Early on, it was so incredibly painful to even try to put words together to express my pain. I understood for the first time how God could hear our prayers when all we can manage are groans. Once the words started, it was like releasing a torrent. My pain literally fell onto the pages and it was emotionally exhausting…for me, and for you as well. The release was cathartic. The more I let it go, the more my heart healed.

Not everyone has a blog where they can release the pent up pain, anger, frustration, confusion that comes with grief. I am blessed with this venue and I don’t take any of you for granted. Your feedback and support has been so incredibly healing for me. I am blessed with family and friends who were supportive during the early months of my grief. The day Mr. Virgo died and I called my daughters, they dropped what they were doing and jumped in their cars to begin the long drive to be with me. They stayed by my side. They answered the phone for me. They made important calls. They took me everywhere I needed to go. Daughter #1 slept with me every night with her arm across my chest to protect me, to calm me, to reassure me I was not alone.

People gathered and surrounded me with love and support and food. My daughters and I bought every funny DVD we could find and tried to find someplace to land besides terror and pain. My friends held me in silence…the same friends who dressed me for my wedding and placed the flowers all around. Here they were…nearly six years to the day…doing the only thing they could do. After we lay Mr. Virgo in the ground, we gathered at our home…my home. I went straight to the humidor and got the expensive cigar he was saving for golf in the summer. I grabbed the bottle of Courvoisier I had used for Mr. Virgo’s favorite fruitcake. And I gathered the men…and my younger daughter. She was particularly close to her stepdad. We went to the front porch and smoked the cigar, and passed the bottle around till it was gone. We told manly stories of golf and travel, hotels and restaurants…all things Mr. Virgo.

After everyone left, the family gathered me up and took me to a restaurant to entice me to eat. I hadn’t had much of anything but coffee for days. It was the day before St. Patrick’s Day…a fine day to be buried, Mr. Virgo would have said. My daughters needed to get back to Denver. Daughter #1 offered to stay longer if I needed her. And while I did…desperately…I said no. I knew she needed to get back to her own family…her own life. And so, just like that, they were gone. And the house became quiet.

I stayed home alone for a week. I had paperwork to do and some things to wrap up at work. I packed a bag, stopped my mail, and headed to Denver to be near the kids. My son-in-law’s parents kept me at their home. I don’t remember the first week I was there…except that I didn’t get dressed for a week and only occasionally ventured out of the room for a little food. I slept much of the time. Finally, I started to join the land of the living again.

Slowly…ever so slowly…I moved forward. Days became weeks and week, months. The firsts started…my first birthday without him, his birthday, the holidays. Our wedding anniversary was just three weeks after he died. People called to see how I was doing. They sent cards and texts and checked in with me on Facebook. One of my daughter’s friends from high school contacted me every week for the first year. And eventually…they all moved on. It was inevitable. They can’t stay forever. They can’t stop their lives forever.

At first, I was really put out. I still needed to vent. I still needed to cry. I needed to tell every story, a hundred times. I needed so much. I needed more than they could ever give. I have to say, I never felt completely abandoned. I am blessed to have the most fabulous people in my life who would listen to me even today if I called and cried. However…I did feel “like a burden”, as one of my readers put it. I didn’t want to unload on them all the time. Somehow, I managed to reach that tipping point where I realized I needed to start managing this pain on my own. That was a really lonely stretch. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have to sit in that “waiting room” (as my friend Christina Rasmussen calls it in her book, Second Firsts) forever, but I had no idea how long I’d be in this social limbo. I wanted to stay alone forever AND I wanted to be with people. I wanted to be invited out AND I wanted to never talk to another soul. I wanted to feel normal AND I didn’t want to feel anything. Oh….grief is crazy making.

I had to have something to hang onto…something, someONE, who would anchor me and keep me from flying off the face of the earth. Even though I had been a Christian for seven years, I only attended church sporadically. One Sunday morning, many months after Mr. Virgo died, I decided I needed to talk to someone who never tired of hearing my cries. Someone who would give and give and give…no matter how much I needed. Who would love me no matter how messy or messed up I got. I went back to church…and I’ve been going ever since.

As much as people want to help…they are people. They are fallible. They can say the wrong things. They can feel overwhelmed by your pain. They can burn out from your grief. But God? God never gets tired of hearing from you. God never gets tired of comforting you. He never gets tired of holding you close. Greater is the one who lives within me than the one who lives in the world. God is the one…the only one who will always, always love you. Even when you cry that horrible snot-slinging cry that no one needs to see. Even when you are so anxious you stay up puking all night. Even when your life seems not worth living. The only way you can lose is to give up. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. Because joy comes again. It sneaks in the cracks of your broken heart when you least expect it. Not all at once…just a little tiny bit at a time. But it comes, dear one. Hang on…it comes. ❤️

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

#God, #Love, #Light

22 thoughts on “Greater is the One

  1. Even when you cry that horrible snot-slinging cry that no one needs to see.

    My eyes still hurt from that kind of crying…. I still have never loved and lost like this but I know that kind of crying…❤️

  2. Greater by Mercy Me… one of my many favorite songs I hear… that brought to my mind when I saw your title. I’m not experienced your kind of loss, but your heart wrenching pain, anguish you experienced came through in your writing. God bless you for sharing so others can know that they’re not alone out there.

  3. I would be totally lost, Is death really the end? I call it a new beginning, A new beginning to live with our God,To see what he has in store for us, to see our families again. Yes a new beginning.
    What a wonderful blog you have going,First thing I look for each morn.
    Thank you,
    Morning hugs to you.

  4. God said a bruised reed he will not break. I clutched that verse tightly as I moved forward one step and one day at a time.

  5. I don’t know how anyone keeps going when they don’t have faith to lean heavily on. When you can’t press on, press into God and let him carry you on. I am sitting here right now, watching my sister slowly die. We were convinced by the Hospice group that taking her home to die would be the best, and that they woukd be here every step of the way. She came home 2 days ago, and yes, a nurse met us at the house and got her cancer ridden body situated in bed. Since then, one other nurse stopped by to get vitals – seriously, you need her vitals when you see the condition she’s in? We’ve been told that an aid would come by today. She was supposed to come yesterday, but didn’t show. If it hadn’t been for my brother’s friend helping to shift her in bed and clean her up, I don’t know where we would be. No one can face death alone. I can’t imagine going through this without the hope of eternity.

    1. Hospice doesn’t always get it right. You have to do what’s best for you AND your sister. I’m so sorry you all are going through this. I’ve never had to watch a family member die in such a way. My heart is with you. Lean on God. ❤️

  6. I could not have gotten through all the emotional and physical pain of my husbands death without God. I was shattered, but He held me up.

  7. When I need it most, your writings are here to let me know I am not alone in my pain, in my grief, in my daily life, I am reminded by you to ‘Let God’. Thank you for that❤️

  8. Great blog I remember those firsts. They truly are mindnumbing. You wonder how life can move on when yours is stopped. Thks for sharing

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