Tell Your Heart To Breathe Again

Four years of marriage
meant to be forever
blind-sided by an affair
a double life
a husband gone forever.

I know what it's like to grieve
I know what it looks like
what it feels like;
yes, I'm intimately aware.
I know what it's like to grieve 
while a spouse is still alive
yet about to disappear.

My tale different than that of
a young widow and mother
and yet similar:
I know what it is to be the loneliest 
you've ever been, nothing can touch
the emptiness.

I know what it's like to not have the will-power
to get dressed, eat, drink;
giving up to the point of lying in a fetal position
and crying myself to sleep.
Not knowing how to begin again.
Not thinking I could.

How do you live when half of you is missing
and gone for good?

All who've read my words will most likely remember 
Mike and Sandy Vander Hart. 

(If not, please read: You Are Not Alone)
Mike died from Stage 4 Cancer. 
And, much like we all feel deeply for Rory and Joey Feek
we've each had the same deep feelings,
and perhaps even more so,
for those we've met and know.
Sandy still needs us, and the three girls
Mike and Sandy shared between them
still need us too.

We need to be Jesus' hands, feet, voice;
we need to channel His love and generosity.
We need to be invested for a lifetime!

A one time gift 
simply isn't enough;
let's carry them through.

I was able to get away from, and yet travel with, my grief. 
I was able to put distance between me and my memories
and the triggers that would make me sob without control.
My life, with my husband, had been in Michigan and so I left.
I went to Pennsylvania
then Arizona 
each place a new beginning, and a letting go,
discovering who I was.
Returning home when I was ready.

Sandy doesn't have that luxury,
she has young girls to raise.

Sandy never entertained the idea
that she'd be a single parent
when she married Mike.

Their love story was supposed to last forever,
a death at the end of a long life
only to meet again on the other side. 

She can't escape the triggers, the memories, 
it's all around her.
In some ways a comfort
because she and Mike shared true love and affection.
In other ways, 
because how does she live?
How does she breathe again?
How does she do this on her own?

Look at your own life and imagine being in Sandy's shoes.
If your spouse were to die tomorrow
would you be able to bear the weight of it all?
All the duties that were split in two
now belong to you!
You can no longer call your husband,
on his way home from work,
to ask him to pick-up a gallon of milk.
It falls to you; 
and, if you're a parent of toddlers,

(back-to-back babies),
you know you don't want to take them out
just for milk!
Everything takes energy;
motivation to keep going,
all lacking when you're immersed in grief.

You may think you've done your part
and yet I urge you to do more than remember Sandy
and her girls
in prayer.
Be the one who places an envelope
in her mailbox each week,
with a $20 dollar bill, 
for the next 6 months.
Be the one who sends her gift cards to Meijer,
a restaurant;
buy her and the girls tickets to a movie,
The Frederick Meijer Gardens,
or another outing that's relatively inexpensive
but hard for a single mama to manage or justify a splurge on.
Alleviate burdens:
Offer to baby-sit, 
pay for next year's snow-plowing;
think in the future 
of what they might need,
anticipate and meet it!
Send cards of encouragement
and unexpected flowers.
Shower Sandy, and the girls, with the love
Mike is no longer able to give them face-to-face.

more than ever,
continue to be present.
There's a reason we've been charged,
by God,
to care for widows and orphans;
Sandy still needs us.

If you would like to help Sandy,
would like to continue to meet her needs,encourage her;
would like to gift her with room to breathe, 
to just be,
but don't have her address
please E-mail me:


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