Gratitude in Grief

Astute long-time readers of Housing Matters may have noticed that most of the columns this year have seemed vaguely familiar. In fact, almost all of them have been reruns. I have been unable to write for most of the year after my beloved wife Barbara went to meet Jesus on July 31 after battling stage 4 lung cancer since the beginning of the year.

This article is both the hardest and the most important column I have ever written. In fact, I have tried to write it every month since Barbara’s passing but have been unable to do so. I hope that I will be able to get it done this month. It is especially important to me to get it written this month because Thanksgiving was always Barbara’s favorite holiday.

I have learned a great deal about Thankfulness during my excruciating grief. I choose to focus on the fact that I am thankful for the 33 wonderful years we had together rather than the emptiness I feel with her passing. I am thankful for my six children and five grandchildren. We have all drawn closer in her absence and brought comfort to one another. I am thankful that Barbara is now in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and will never suffer or shed another tear for all eternity.

The great quantities of tears I have shed makes this realization all the more comforting. None of this changes that fact that my sorrow and devastation has been overwhelming. At times I have felt as if the grief would smother me. I truly have learned what it means to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I also have experienced the grace of God holding me up and sustaining me in the midst of my sorrow.

I have decided to be this vulnerable and to share this with you because I want to tell you in no uncertain terms, PLEASE, PLEASE take the time in this holiday season to spend time with the ones you love and give your life meaning.

Do not let a moment pass without letting them know how much they mean to you. As my daughter said to me in the early days after Barbara’s passing, “Till death do us part wasn’t long enough.”  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Live each day as if it were your last, or someone you love’s last.

As I pick up the pieces of my broken life and try to figure out how to move forward, I would appreciate all of the prayers you can send my way. Already this loss has made me a more compassionate person and I have more empathy for the suffering of others.

As you gather with your family and friends for Thanksgiving, I pray that you would treat them all with a little more love and kindness this year. My hope is that we would all have more awareness of the many gifts we have been given. Don’t let small things and the hustle and bustle of life take away from being thankful for all that you have that really matters. Hope that we can all set aside more time this year to appreciate our many blessings, both large and small.

Thank you for listening. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

— Chris Moore

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