A Year of Grace

November 15th is the one year anniversary of my husband John’s death. For several weeks I have been thinking about it, anticipating it, dreading it, and wondering how I will get through it. I do not want to simply re-live the horrible hours of that devastating day. How does one both recognize the passing of a year without one’s loved one without getting sucked back into the deep darkness of that experience? What is the most faithful thing to do?

If we tread this earth long enough, we all experience significant loss. It is the hardest part of living. The loss of a loved one, a dream, a career, or one’s health can confound and overwhelm us. It is hard to conceive of life beyond that loss. But my experience has been that it is the living, the saints around us, who are best able to help us move beyond the loss and live life abundantly again. My life was forever changed a year ago, but not simply because of my loss. I have been   transformed by the love, compassion, care, gracious acts, and healing kindnesses of my amazing church family. You have been truly wonderful in my darkest hour. I have been sustained by your prayers, your cards, your words of assurance and your gracious acceptance of who I am in the wake of my experience.

I have been deeply touched by your patience and understanding of the many things I have felt I needed to do.  My trip to Israel was a huge blessing at just the right time.  Our trip to Virginia to spread John’s ashes in the Blue Ridge Mountains was monumental in my healing process. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for so many of you who helped me  prepare my house to sell and then helped me move into the house on Santa Cruz Drive. It has been a hard year, but I have been sustained by your love and encouragement.

As we celebrate All Saints Sunday on November 3rd,  I hope we can all express our deep gratitude to God for the amazing people God has put in our lives to sustain and bless us with their wisdom, love, support and comfort.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Valerie