The two year "Mark"

A little before midnight tonight, I will mark two years as a widow. 

That’s 730 days. 
17,520 hours. 
1,035,000 minutes. 
62,100,100 seconds.


Over a million minutes.  Over 62 million seconds!  So much time has passed–yet again, so little time has passed.  Does that make sense?

Life “b.w.” (before widowhood) was grand.  I didn’t worry about anything.  I had a big strong husband to take care of me.  He and I were a perfect match.  Fitting together like a hand-in-glove, we tackled life with enthusiasm and as a tag team. 

We had meticulous plans. 

Life “s.w.” (since widowhood)?  It’s definitely had its moments.  See those 730 days listed above?  There was a time I didn’t think I could make it through one of those days without Mark.

But I didn’t have a choice.  Looking back, that was my greatest blessing. 

Little boys, depending on me for some normalcy, craving reassurance we were going to make it and be okay, gave me all the reason I needed to live and push forward. 

I was clueless as to how to live without Mark.  I’d been with him since I was 22.  At his death, I was 48, with 8 and 9 year olds to raise. 

Oh, the things I’ve learned.  And oh, the things I have yet to learn!

Through it all, through each and every one of those 62 million seconds, God has been beside me. 

He has been faithful.

He has carried me when needed.

He has caressed and carried my boys continually.

He has comforted me.

He has chided me.

He has shown me glimpses of His glory whenever I needed them most.

He has given me counsel.

He has been a great listener, never tiring of my pain or my tears.

He is ever-present!

There have been times I have faltered.  I have done things I am not proud of.  I have failed to be the child of God I know I am called to be.  How great is our God that He never runs out of grace to forgive me, dust me off, and set me back on the path I need to follow?

Two years ago, I wondered what would become of my boys and me.  Today, I know what we have become.  We have become more patient.  More tolerant.  More empathetic.  More mature in our faith.  More pragmatic.  More spontaneous. 

We look each other in the eyes whenever we say “I love you,” and we mean it. 

We never take a day for granted because of what we’ve weathered.

I asked God to help me to figure out the plan He had for the Howell party of three within these first two years.  I wasn’t giving God a deadline.  But July of 2013 was the month we were supposed to retire and move full time to Kansas family land.  It was my hope that I would be able to discern what God wanted for us before the two year mark of widowhood was upon me.

Pulling back the dark clouds from time to time, God gives me sneak peeks into what He has in store for us. 

I know what I am supposed to do, and I’m doing it.

I’m supposed to continue writing.

I’m in the process of building a getaway cabin on that family land in Kansas.  It will be our oasis, a place where the boys and I can get back to the basics, and rip and snort on the land. 

Maggie the wonder dog will be hunted.  A lot.

Our main residence is to remain here, in Wichita Falls, for the foreseeable future.  We’ve been here 21 years, and have an established support system of friends and church family.  We love and are loved.

The future looks bright for all three of us, even in the midst of such loss.

That, dear ones, is something only our God can accomplish. 

It is to Him that I give all the praise and the thanks.

Because two years ago tonight, my (our) future looked pretty bleak. 

God restores.  God repairs.  God reigns.

The Lord reached down from above and took hold of me; he pulled me out of the deep waters. 

Psalm 18:16 (GNB)

 I still hurt, and I will always grieve the loss of Mark Harold Howell from my earthly life.  But I know I will see him again.  And in the meantime?  I plan on making him mighty proud. 

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