The phone rang. Often that’s the first thing that happens when bad news arrives. On this particular day, the phone ringing was how it began. It was my mom. She was crying. She delivered the news to me that my aunt had passed away. It hit with a skip of my heart, which then ached, and I’m not sure when that ache goes away. I had just talked with my uncle the day before and he told me my aunt was doing better. Which made the news even harder.
They had been married for forty-nine years. Forty-nine years! I can only imagine the pain of losing a spouse.
I don’t want to imagine it.
Surviving your spouse has got to be one of the most painful experiences we can endure while on this earth.
As I’ve spent time with my uncle he will often make these gut sounds almost like the sound one makes when clearing the throat only it’s coming from the gut, “Uhhhh,” releasing some of the pain. Sitting across from him during breakfast at Bob’s Big Boy—where they all know him, and multiple waitstaff stopped by to offer condolences—he told me he had to go to the grocery store.
“Would you like me to go with you?”
“Nah, I’m in and I’m out, bah-boom, bah-boom. I don’t need help, I’m really fast.”
“Okay, Uncle, whatever you want.”
“Now your aunt, eh, she took forever at the grocery store. She’d look at every ingredient and take her time with everything. I would fill my cart with the food I wanted and then I’d sit down and wait for her. It was always at least an hour.”
I don’t think I will ever look at waiting for my husband quite the same again. It’s an honor to wait for our spouse. This means they’re still coming back.
As I remember my aunt three things stand out for me…
My aunt taught me how to bake cookies. She’d let me put my thumb print in the middle of each mound of dough where the jelly would go to make peanut butter and jelly cookies.
My aunt taught me to love life. One time we were at the grocery store and my aunt was buying flowers.
“Who are the flowers for?”
“For me!” she said. The flowers were for her to enjoy. She didn’t need a reason to celebrate life, she made a reason.
My aunt taught me how to unconditionally love your husband. My uncle was not an easy man to live with.
For example, yesterday I called him…
With a slightly raised volume, “Uncle?”
“AHHHH! STOP YELLING AT ME!”
No, he wasn’t easy to live with, I’m sure. If my aunt were here, she’d tell you the same, but she stood by him and supported him and loved him—no matter what. There was never any question, she was always on his team. She loved him completely and with everything she was.
Do you appreciate your spouse?
If not, the cure is to spend time with someone who has just lost theirs.
To skyrocket your appreciation for your spouse, spend time with someone who has just lost theirs.
The most profound thing my uncle has said since my aunt left this world…
“All I care about now is where she is today. All I care about is knowing she’s in Heaven.”
Isn’t that the most important question for all of us?
Where will be go?
Where will our spouse go?
Where will our loved ones go?
But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
As far as my aunt…
I believe she’s in Heaven. And I believe I will see her again one day.
Love your spouse with everything you are today. We are not promised tomorrow.