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The Journey

by Vickie Richey

On November 18, 2004, my darling Gary died, and that began my long, painful journey through grief and mourning.

It’s hard to explain what his loss has meant. Perhaps if I share my journal entries from that time…

“I can’t be strong or perky or cheerful or brave. I don’t care if I’m a good example or if I’m a disappointment. I’m screaming with pain and loss.

Heaven is foreign to me. It does not bring the comfort I need. I only know it’s far, far away and Gary is there—away from me. I can’t see his face or hear his voice or touch his hand. He’s gone. He’s dead.

It’s slowly sinking in—past the layers of shock. My darling Gary is never, never coming back. Ever.

These are words I despise — single, widow, change of status, alone, cemetery, a new start, moving, “how are you doing?”

People are sick of me. I’m sick of me. I can’t talk to anyone, not really talk. They’d be afraid of me.

I’m exhausted from trying—just trying to live, to work, to keep going.

I’m surprised people can’t see the huge, bleeding hole in the middle of my chest—the gaping place where Gary used to be. But he’s gone, and I can’t get better. I can’t recover. I’ve lost too much blood.

My body continues to live, but I’m lost somewhere. So alone. I wish there was an escape hatch, but it’s not there.

These are the emotions of grief. I’m glad they’re not the truth.

In September 2005, I was invited to GriefShare. I decided to go, and it was the very best decision I could have made. It was the right time for me.

At GriefShare, you are safe; no advice, no questions, and no judgment. Instead, there is loving support, contact numbers for crisis times, a place to express, to cry, to laugh, to share and to reach out to other precious ones walking this long highway. You are also free to be silent.

Going to GriefShare feels like having warm arms wrapped around you when you’re shivering, like soothing ointment gently smoothed over raw wounds, or like a steady hand holding your shaky one.

GriefShare is the shimmering, yet resilient thread of hope that is generously offered every week. It is a haven of comfort, healing, and safety. I love the wonderful people I have met there.

The God of GriefShare has ministered to me directly. He has never left me for a day; these most sorrowful and pain-filled of all my days.

Do I feel His presence? Not as much as I experience it. His presence and strength steady me and lift me so that I am able to live each day—to sleep and wake again, to work, to eat.

I have learned simple things firsthand:

· Praise with a shattered heart and tears streaming down your face still belong to God, and it’s still praise.

· God is patient. He has never hurried or pushed me.

· God is acquainted with grief. I don’t have to explain it to Him (Is. 53).

· The Lord is close to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18).

· God is gentle. His voice is soft and whispery.

· God is comfort and shows compassion (Ps. 119:76).

· God has faithfully loved me (1 John 3:1).

God has cradled me in His arms. They’re warm and strong and secure. He has assured me through His Word that I will get better. “Joy comes in the morning,” He whispers.

He has read my heart, not my lips. He has joined in my tears. He has never taken His eyes off me.

He is my anchor and my rock of refuge, even when emotions erupt and shake my world.

I am grateful to this wonderful Father, the God of all peace.

My journey continues….

©2006 Vickie Richey. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bio:
Vickie Richey is an anointed speaker, teacher and writer. She recently lost her husband of 39 years and is now on a mission to share God’s great love and liberating power–even in the center of brokenness. Vickie sang with the Maranatha Singers of Virginia for 10 years, recording three albums; served as President of Aglow Ministries; authored a tract on intercession which was translated into Chinese; wrote and directed the annually-performed musical for “The Glory of Easter”; and recently launched Ice Pond Publishing. She has two grown children, six grandchildren, and resides in Bealeton, VA. She may be reached at garysgirl11@netzero.net.