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Looking Back as I Go Forward

Becoming Me, Without You Blog Series

On my second birthday without Larry, I received the book, Learning to be Me Without You, by Paula Freeman. I read it in one day, underlining as I read, eager to know what this all meant for me.

The book also sent me down memory lane as I thought about meeting Larry when I was ten, becoming “an item” when we were twelve, and getting married at almost twenty-two. Fifty-four wedding anniversaries followed, with two sons, two miscarriages, and five grandchildren. I’m so thankful that all five grandchildren got to know their Pop. When he was first diagnosed with cancer in July 1997 as our first grandchild was on the way, I remember telling Larry that I didn’t want to be a grandma alone. We were able to celebrate the births and lives of all five together.

Continuing down memory lane, I thought of the different homes and places where we had lived. I thought about all the places in the world we had visited in ministry, how we were very different, but still a team.

We lived with anticipatory grief for nearly twenty-five years after that first diagnosis. And then one day, Larry said, “Enough.” When he asked me and the boys if it was okay to no longer be poked, prodded, scanned, or dependent on medication, we supported his decision and released him. He so wanted to go HOME.

Through this, I didn’t have to learn to be me without him; I had to become me without him. That’s why Jeanie and I chose the title “Becoming Me Without You” for this blog.

How has this process been for me after almost two years?

I sold our Charlotte home.
I moved into one apartment and then into another one more suitable for me.
I’ve met many new people and been more involved with my family.

I’m still very much in process, but one day when I was reading Day 56 of the daily email from GriefShare, I was surprised to read a quote by Larry. It said, “Sometimes the best remedy for grief is finding some way to touch somebody else’s life.” I took that as a direct message to continue reaching out.

Having people in my home and hosting gatherings is something I’ve always done, but now I am deciding to do it alone. I hosted a “longest day of the year” evening in June. As people left my apartment, I gave them an envelope with an introduction to Larry and a copy of that email inside along with a note thanking them for helping me to be other-centered. The responses in the next few days were wonderful!

It’s my goal to “make God look good” by the way I treat others. This ministry of hospitality to the people in my apartment complex offers me opportunities to do that as I become more me without him.

How are you doing that?

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