Walking Through Grief

I was told that I would be in shock for at least the first month of my grief journey. I didn't understand what it meant until the end of November. The depth of pain and loss I entered into at that time is hard to put into words.

The emotions of grief are varied, actually all over the place. One moment I am gripped with a feeling of unreality, like this can't really have happened. Certainly, Curt will come home soon from a trip. It's just unfathomable that he isn't coming home to me. I see his pictures and he's as real to me as he was earlier this year before we even knew about the cancer. Then a sense of guilt overtakes me. This is somehow my fault. I should have seen the signs. He complained sometimes that his leg bothered him when we walked too fast during our exercise together. Why did we think it was just that his muscles needed strengthening or he needed to stretch before he walked? Why did we feel no urgency to get it looked at? But would it even have made a difference? Not even the big guns of chemo were able to fight off this rare bone cancer. Of course, God could have stopped it, but for some unknown reason, He didn't. "A person's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed." Job 14:5 NIV

Grief causes one to feel anger. Thankfully, this is the least frequent emotion for me. But there was one moment in December. It didn't last long. I can still see where I stood when I suddenly felt overcome with anger at God. I know there is nothing too difficult for Him. He could have healed Curt or caused his body to have purged itself from all cancer cells. As I stood staring into my refrigerator for something to eat that afternoon, I was overcome with anger and yelled, "Why did you let this happen? You could have healed him? Why didn't you?" And that's about how long my anger lasted. The truth gripped me and wouldn't let go. I know God's ways are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:9). I know he doesn't always interfere in the natural course of life. I know that since God allowed Curt's life on earth to end, I must trust Him that it is best for me. That's about the hardest thing to accept. How can that possibly be true? I don't know the answer to that question. But what I do know is God will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). And that quickly, my emotions changed again, and I entered into praise. It's a sacrifice of praise. Nothing has changed. But in faith, I believe God will see me through this and even cause good to come from it.

In December, I walked into my living room where my Christmas tree was set up. This room had been Curt's favorite during the Christmas season. It's so cozy. We would each sit in one of the upholstered chairs and talk about our day or the kids or our plans or whatever came to mind. It was a sweet way to end the day in our cozy cocoon apart from the rest of the world. It was "our" time, and we treasured it. Now I stood alone in that room. His chair sat empty. I fell to my knees, overcome with longing and sorrow, and sobbed uncontrollably. Eventually, the tears subside, and my heart lifted with thanksgiving to God for the beautiful memories I have. I had found a treasure many will never find. I had found my true love, my soulmate, my closest friend, my spiritual leader, and so much more. I was blessed by God to spend thirty-three years of my life with such a man—my husband—who loved me completely, as Christ loves the church.

Now I must ask myself the question Job asked, "Shall we actually accept good from God but not accept adversity?" (Job 2:10) Has God changed because He allowed cancer to take Curt from me? No. He is absolutely the same loving Father He always was.

Although Curt is gone, God is still here with me. He allowed this for His glory. I can't see His plan yet, but I know my God. As I submit to Him—even while my heart is heavy and I cry tears of sorrow—God will be glorified through my terrible loss. In faith, I choose to trust Him.

I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings
until the danger passes by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.
My heart is confident in you, O God;
my heart is confident.
No wonder I can sing your praises!
For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.
May your glory shine over all the earth.
(Psalm 57:1,2,7,10,11)


Anneliese Dalaba

January 19, 2022