Today is my birthday. I am 49. Right on the cusp of a whole new decade, beginning the last year of my 40s….never did I dream that I would be celebrating it as a single mother to two boys, a widow of almost 9 months.
I didn’t know what to expect today, what I would feel. But I woke up feeling joy. Pure, unadulterated joy that I have been blessed with this day, able to get out of bed, go worship my God with a church family that supports and loves us, and be with the two most important men in my life all day.
Is this the life I would’ve chosen? Heck, no.
I responded to a friend’s Facebook birthday greetings saying I wish I could just be the person I was before last July, when Mark’s death forever changed me. Her reply?
There’s no way she could’ve known how much I needed to read that. Because I’m not the Nancy I was before July 30, 2011. I’m this Nancy, shaped by circumstances, sadness, grief, love, and uncertainty. I’m standing because God has carried me, carried my boys through hell and back, as we’ve adjusted to be a family of three. I can’t go back to who I was.
Some days, it’s easier than others. On any given day, I can go from pure joy to sadness to tears to sighing to laughing, sometimes within a matter of minutes. Talk about an emotional female 🙂 And I just roll with it. What else can I do?
Last year at this time, Mark was taking me out for a romantic dinner, and I watched as he played with his food. You see, unbeknownst to me, he’d had his diverticulitis attack two days earlier, out in the middle of Palo Pinto county while doing a grass carp inspection for work. Totally alone, he recounted later the pain was so intense, that he doubled over, unsure if he could even make it back to the state truck. I try not to wonder “what if,” but what if he’d been in his office when that attack happened? Or at home with us? In either of those circumstances, we would’ve rushed him to the hospital. And maybe he would still be with us.
But looking backwards and wondering what could’ve or should’ve been does nothing but create more sad memories for us in the present. We can’t live in the past. We don’t know about our future. We are only promised “right now.”
And “right now,” I am looking out at my beautiful garden, the temperature’s a cool 73 degrees, the sun is shining, my roses are blooming, and my two boys think I’m the most wonderful mom in the world.
Tomorrow? I’m not going to worry about it. My plans for us, long-term? Haven’t the foggiest. Where we will be in 3 to 5 years? Not a clue.
What I do know is that God will work out the details. If He can set the universe in motion, and create all that I see and love, He can surely show me the path that I should follow.
I talk to Mark, too, and tell him I need his guidance. He had so many plans, and several of those I owe to his sons to fulfill. I don’t know how in the world I am going to accomplish them, but I will.
His legacy, his two sons & family land in Kansas, will be forever intertwined.
Worrying about our future does no good. Wondering if God has someone down the road to share in our lives does nothing to help me cope in the meantime.
So, we do the best we can, and we move forward. Never forgetting what we had, always a bit sad for what could’ve been, but enjoying the lives that God has given us to enjoy today.