Today marks day 214 since my Joyce died. Even though she was sick for seven months, and we knew for a month, she was going to lose her battle with cancer, I had no idea of what real grief would be like. For the first three months, I seriously questioned not how I would make it through, but IF I would ever make it through. At the three month mark of her passing, I took a stack of grief books and got away for a week. Through the reading of many books, followed the prescribed journaling exercises, I came to realize I needed to stop asking the question
“WHY” and start asking the question “HOW.” None of us will ever know why our beloved wives died. That’s one of the great mysteries of life. Once I realized that things began to change for me. I began to ask myself HOW I will live the rest of my life. What will my legacy be? What will I do to live a life that honors God and honors her legacy and wishes?
The only right answer to the above question is the answer that is right for you. We’re all going down this road together, but everyone’s story is different.
In my case, the answer came in one word, service. I needed to identify and serve causes that would not only help me heal but would help others. In my case, I have discovered an avenue of service that is both important and purposeful.
Last fall, I became involved with a local food pantry in Indianapolis. It’s a pretty busy place, serving nearly 2000 clients every month. I help people shop; I empty trash, I do whatever is needed. It feels good. It feels good to know you’re putting food on people’s tables. It feels good to know you’re helping to address food insecurity issues. Every time I serve there, I come home feeling blessed at the opportunity to help others who are facing their own set of difficulties. I’ve had the chance to connect with people going through circumstances similar to mine. I’ve been able to offer and receive encouragement from many new friends. It makes me realize that as dark and challenging as my journey has been, there is an opportunity to grow and be better from it.
I’ve appreciated the many stories I’ve read on this forum. Well, I haven’t met any of you face-to-face, I believe many of our wives share the same values. I believe our wives want us to continue living our lives. I believe our wives want us to do things that matter.
Is it hard? You bet it’s hard. Nothing worth doing is that easy, is it? If you’re looking for something new to do this year, something to make you feel better, think about volunteering for a cause you respect, or something she liked. It will honor her, and it will help you as you move forward in your journey.
Jim Winner’s Winning Thursday Thoughts will appear every other Thursday. Jim is a member of WSN-MO and a former stockbroker and business owner. He resides in Carmel, IN. You can write Jim at: [email protected]