It’s strange what might cause a healing widow to jump back to days of mourning, even years later. Today someone in Bible study said the words “asking my husband,” and that was all it took. I didn’t cry or let on, but my attention left the Exodus study and riveted back on Nate and his absence. I won’t be able to ask him anything again, no matter what.
Two weeks from now our family will mark the second anniversary of Nate’s death. This year has been much better than last, and we’ve all made great progress in learning how to handle his being gone. Today, though, I needed to revisit 2009.
Back at home, I went to the basement and retrieved my two year old wall calendar on which we wrote the details of Nate’s cancer and its forced experiences. The October 18 square, a Sunday, is packed with writing: Mom and Dad’s #68 anniversary (if they’d been living); Nelson to TN, moving out of 168; no church today; sermon CD at home; Casey’s birthday (a friend who once lived with us); family photo.
That last one brought a powerful memory. Nate was about to finish up 14 radiation treatments, and as we’d met with doctors during those weeks, we’d learned he didn’t have as long as we first thought. Although we’d only known about his cancer for 26 days by Oct. 18, we became aware his time was growing short. Little did we know he had only 16 days left.
But our family was together, including three unborn grandbabies, and we decided to take a group picture. Although Nate was in great pain, he smiled unendingly while we posed and posed some more. Those were, as I recall, his last broad grins.
Tonight while working at the computer, I had a hard time focusing on anything but Nate and thought a beach sunset might help, despite overcast skies. Since the dogs love to chase the car home (wonderful exercise), I decided to drive.
As I opened the car door, there on the driver’s seat was a magnificent gift left anonymously by someone who’d been the Lord’s messenger to a pensive widow: a giant, heart-shaped potato!
It was as if God said, “I know you’re missing Nate today, and I want you to know I’m very close by, loving you.” I was astounded by this tender touch.
Maybe someday I’ll learn who my benevolent stranger was. Meanwhile, I send a cyber-thank-you to whoever you are, for all the world to see!
And how good to know that while God was taking care of me, he was also watching you as you delivered your unusual, timely gift. It was just what I needed. Thank you!
“It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” (Psalm 73:28)