Suddenly it’s over. The person you loved and cared for, who took center stage in your life for months, maybe years, dies and it left you heartbroken. You stand at the end of a road that once felt way too long. No more doctor’s appointments, hospital vigils, treatment or medication routines, or aides to schedule. The work you did no longer matters… Will you matter?
Work defines us
in our American culture. You are a homemaker, mother, doctor, secretary, salesman, caregiver… And then you’re not, and you can’t go forward. There are two choices.
You can plop down at the intersection and just stay there. Stop living, and just exist in your memories. We must cherish our memories and shed a ton of tears along the way. But it is possible to carry our memories forward, and not let them bury us in a living death.
We can choose a new direction. Unless you have work you’ve been dying to do, or do more of, or a hobby you’ve promised yourself you would someday lose yourself in, you may need to just hang a right (or left) and be prepared for whatever may lie ahead. You don’t know what’s ahead, but it’s certain God does. Either way, you are on a new road.
Called According to His Purpose
God called you to love and care for one of his children, and you did. You fulfilled one of the purposes He had for you. Rest assured, He has more because you are still alive. You may not feel very alive now, you may wish you weren’t, but there’s no getting around it—God doesn’t waste anything or anybody. So pick your direction. Right or left? God won’t let you choose badly.
Your new road
may not appear to be anything much. Sometimes people, after vesting their entire lives in others, realize they did not carve out many interests for themselves. There didn’t seem to be time.
Now time overflows with empty hours. I found myself saying “yes” to every invitation I received and reveled in just being around my friends. Maybe the first step may be to join a group at church, or in your neighborhood, or volunteer. The point is, we must walk the new road to find God’s purpose for us. And very often His new purpose for us may be nestled in strange places along the way.
I stopped in our church’s café after service one Sunday simply because it beat going home to an empty house. Immediately, I ran into friends, so I joined them for coffee. While we were chatting, a woman came up and discussed the book supply for the library outside our Food Pantry with my friend.
Books? Library? My ears perked up. I love books. No surprise there. Even my protagonist, Lou Skalney, in The Divine Meddler is a bookworm. Long story short, I now volunteer at that library and enjoy meeting all sorts of people as they enter and leave the Food Pantry………one new purpose on my new path. I suspect more lie ahead.
I loved your article from today.
In the Grief Share group, we remind those attending that they didn’t
die, their loved one did. You must go on. As difficult as it is, each day you take one more step forward.
So reassuring that Grief Share is there for people who lost loved ones and that life over death is encouraged. Maybe sometimes people need permission to move on.
Such wonderful personal information and advice!
Thanks, Lynne. Sometimes we need to share for our sake and for others.
There’s no doubt about it. You’ve been doing God’s work. You have been a faithful spouse, partner, caregiver and friend according to God’s will. And you’re right. Now it’s time to travel new paths. Like Robert Frost’s …
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.
Sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler,
Long I stood and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth,
then took the other, just as fair and having perhaps the greater need
because it was grassy and needed wear.
(Maybe not quite the exact words of Frost, but one gets the picture.)
Sue, you are a person with a call for words. May your words lead others out of the world’s traumas and into the arms of God.
Thank you so much, Rick. And thank you for sharing Frost’s wonderful poem!
My church food pantry was part of my avenue of recovery also. My work there is pretty basic, involving filling grocery orders, stocking shelves, taking information on new clients and in general wishing them well.
So far this has been fulfilling and I urge others to try it. The process involves active giving rather than long discussions over how to solve food deficiencies.
Helpers like you are so needed. There’s enough talking. Time to start walking.
Thanks Sue for so beautifully sharing your journey to a new adventures in life. I shared today at GriefShare about your desire to author a book and your book signing on Saturday. I would love to read your blog to the folks if I could. I’m sure they would be greatly inspired by your words and experience.
Thank you, Carl. Feel free to read my blog anywhere!