It’s about here now. This stupid one year “anniversary” of Vance’s death. What a weird word to use for something so devastating. Anniversaries are supposed to be happy things, where you celebrate making it one more year together. Instead, here I am, marking one whole year apart. It feels like there should be another word for that. Hit me up in the comments if you have a better word, because I could really use one.
The last 12 months have been full of grief. There is no way around that. I have cried more in the last 365 days than in the entire 15,681 days before that. I’m not done with crying or sadness. I suppose that I never really will be completely finished grieving this loss. Love doesn’t just stop because someone’s heart no longer beats.
Grief, yes, but these last months have also been so full of grace. Sometimes, so much so that I hesitate to share for fear of sounding boastful. But I promise, if I boast, I boast only to speak of the goodness of God. It feels unfinished to tell you only about the grief, when there really is so much grace.
There is grace in the amazing Father’s Day gift our friends gave the kids. In the secret Valentines and the random cards that have come on just the right days.
It’s in the last minute beach get away another friend included me in. Cause seriously, if you’re going to have to be a widow, you might as well have your toes in the sand, right?
The four hours of prayer and fellowship my spiritual sisters and I were able to have together, praying for our marriages, our children and our grief were so full of grace. Bearing one another’s burdens in the way of genuine love.
Grace is found in the big things, like life insurance that has allowed me to continue being a homeschool mom, not having to disrupt our lives even more in this first year by me having to search out a job. It won’t be that way forever, but for now, it’s been nice to be able to breathe without worrying too much about the finances.
God’s favor is also in the little things, like the Uber driver I was able to find at 3:45 in the morning, when he was the only one in the area at the time, and I had failed to realize I was using an old card number when I tried to book the trip early, thus never actually completing the transaction. And yet, there he was, choosing to do the regular Uber, not the XL, at exactly the time I needed him, even though that was not his normal routine.
There is grace in finding a new band, whose music speaks to my heart in almost every song, just when I need it. (Rend Collective, if you’re wondering. I recommend their Good News album as well as their recent release, Sing It From the Shackles. You’re welcome.)
Grace has been found in the plethora of messages I’ve received in the past week, saying how loved ones are thinking of and praying for me and the kids this week, as this anniversary looms. And in the scores, if not hundreds of messages I’ve gotten in this year, just checking in, making sure we’re hanging in there okay.
It’s finding a Christian therapist who not only lets me talk things out, but who prays with and for me.
The letter I received from a teenage girl named Abby who was able to pursue her dreams of dancing after an injury because Vance was an organ and tissue donor was packed full of grace. God’s hand was so obvious in that. What more would Coach Crutchfield want than for a young athlete, named Abby, to pursue her dreams?
It’s found in grandparents who step up and fill the holes. Aunts, uncles and cousins who refuse to let us give up on the hard days and laugh with us on the good ones.
You guys, “grace in the grief” is more than a catchy blog name. It’s truly becoming a way of life for me. I’m searching for – and finding – God’s favor in the middle of this mess. Three hundred sixty-five days ago, I had no idea how much, if any, I would find. There were moments, days, weeks, when it alluded me, but ya’ll, I have found it. God is good, a true refuge in times of trouble. May I keep searching for his hand in the days ahead.