Folding sheets and 1000 days of widowhood.
Last week I was folding my sheets as they came out of the dryer. Using the bed to aid me in this task, my mind was wool gathering and the memory of the first time I folded sheets after my husband Mike, died, floated to the surface. He and I almost always folded sheets together.
He was not at all concerned about crisp folds or a nice finished bundle, as was I; we just enjoyed being together. That day, however, as I touched the sheets, I crumpled to the bed, sobbing.
I had washed his scent from them; it was one more reminder that he was really gone and was not ever coming back. I laid on the bed shrouded in the sheets, crying for what seemed like forever. It was excruciating. As quickly as that memory had materialized, I was drawn back to the present and a smile made its way to my face.
Instead of being overcome by that initial devastating memory, others flooded my mind of Mike and me laughing and just being silly together. My heart was so happy. I thought to myself- “Wow, what a difference time makes!” Time is one small component to healing when you grieve. The passing of time lessens the frequency of being overcome by grief and the acuteness of those episodes. I stopped right then and tried to determine how much time had actually elapsed since Mike died.
Today, July 22, 2017 marks my first 1000 days as a widow.
Most of us are familiar with the idea of the first 100 days of a new president’s tenure. This phrase was coined in a 1933 radio address by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It actually was in reference to the first 100 days of the newly seated Congress. It soon morphed into an assessment of a sitting president’s first 100 days- what he was able to do, what laws were being passed and a general sense of what his leadership was going to look like.
Roosevelt was the president who was able to accomplish the most during his first 100 days. Taking office in the height of the Depression, with the country battered and looking for guidance, FDR seated his entire cabinet, got 76 bills into law and rolled out his “New Deal” plan to get the country back on its feet . Since that time, every president’s first 100 days have come under scrutiny.
So I have decided to review my first 1000 days……
Honestly, the first several months were a blur.
Mike died very unexpectedly and without warning on October 24, 2014. I stumbled through the holidays that first year and it was January when I really started to get a sense of what my life was going to look like without my best friend of 40 years in it. Suffice it to say- I experienced the good, the bad and the ugly! But, I am standing strong, confident, and excited about the future God has planned for me. Listed below are some of the “accomplishments” from these first 1000 days.
- Making it through the grocery store without breaking down and actually purchasing something
- Welcoming the best friends and family in the world to care for me when I was so brokenhearted and they never knew which version of me they were going to get
- Journaling became a big part of my healing
- Working my tail off doing counseling, taking Grief Share classes and learning to embrace my grief and walk through it, and learn from it
- Getting myself to social gatherings and being able to stay
- Driving solo on long road trips and not feeling lonely
- Handling small home repairs- thank you YouTube and Google
- Assembling “some assembly required” furniture with no parts left over
- Following God’s call on my life and being ordained as a minister of His glorious Gospel
- Speaking and encouraging people whenever and wherever God opens doors
- Planning a month’s long missions trip for early 2018
- Writing, writing, writing
I would have never chosen what happened to me on that October day in 2014, but it still happened. I’ve now been given the fabulous opportunity to recalibrate the rest of my life.
Psalm 31:15 says “My times are in your hands. Hour by hour, I place my days in your hand.” So that’s my game plan. I don’t really know what is before me, but I am running towards it FULL SPEED, with reckless abandon and trust in God!
In his inaugural address on January 20, 1961, President John Kennedy said this in regards to his platform for America: ” All of this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin…..”
Can I encourage you to begin today? Wherever you are, whatever you’re facing, you can tum things around and your life can be a wonderful thing- you just have to begin!
Good bye to the first 1000 days and hello to many 1000’s more.
They’re gonna be great!!!
Rev. Sherry Massey