Today would have marked my 9th wedding anniversary. This is the third of which I’ve spent on my own. It’s kind of cruel that we have all these dates that for most people are so happy and exciting milestones and as soon as we lose that person, they become tragic and hurtful reminders of what we’ve lost. There are birthdays, ours, theirs, the kids, where we are reminded that this person is no longer with us to celebrate or that we are not celebrating them with them (we still celebrate Keith!). There is the death date, there are all of the holidays to go through and there are of course the anniversaries. It makes it so difficult on days like today to want to do much of anything, thinking of what I no longer have. I think that this is a fine place to be, but as healing continues and the pain is not as raw, I instead like to look to what my blessings are and how Keith blessed my life.

My biggest and most important blessing is my girls. We struggled for three years to be able to get pregnant with Charlotte. It was such a long and heartbreaking time of my life. I had so many friends who were able to get pregnant and have their babies during that time. While I was so happy for my friends, on the inside I was so hurt by the constant question of “what’s wrong with me”? With Sarah, we didn’t plan on her, but God was! It’s funny how we have no clue what we need or want and think our plans are perfect, and God alters all those plans because of course, He knows better. I’m not sure that I would have made it through the loss of Keith without these two beautiful girls that God has blessed me with and entrusted to me. Charlotte is so caring and is very concerned with how everyone around her is feeling, and Sarah can make an entire room light up just by walking in. She is so funny and has such a personality! While they are so young, they know just what to say or do to help in the hard times. I would be completely lost without them!

My next blessing is my family, friends, and church family. When going through such a painful loss, it can be so very lonely. Even when you’re surrounded by people, it’s so very lonely at times. Having such a strong, loving and large support group has truly helped on my healing journey. They have allowed me to be or say whatever I felt I needed. They sat with me while I was in the mud and not able yet to get up. They continue to rally around me when I need them most. My group has encouraged me to keep going and to keep going with God! They have been supportive through all the very difficult decisions even this many years later. They continue to stand by my side when it’s most important. It seems to be that with difficult trauma’s people will either come closer to God or they stray away. I’m so happy and blessed that my support unit has kept an emphasis on The Lord so that I could too.

My last blessing is Keith himself. I am so blessed to have had that man in my life for 12 years! He taught me so much in our time together! I wouldn’t be who I am today without those years with him. It is definitely true what they say, “it’s better to love and loss than not love at all”. On one of my podcasts my guest spoke about how love is like an infinity sign, you teach and pour your love into someone and they take that love and pour it into others and the cycle just keeps going. Keith taught me how to love, and how to love fiercely. And now I’m able to take that love and pour it into our girls, into my friends, and maybe one day into a new love. Keith was the shirt off his back kind of man, and he taught me too, how to be more generous with people. Generous with my time, money, and things. I think he would be really proud of who I am and the growth I continue to do even after him. This is a journey, I can’t say that I’m glad to be on it, but I want to make sure that I’m able to make the best of the journey that I’m able to.

I started out by saying that Paul was stoned, thrown in prison, threatened, beaten, and many other terrible things in his life and he just continued to sing God’s praises. Always telling others about Christ. If Paul could do that through all the physical and emotional pain, that if my strength could bring just one person to Christ, that would be enough for me. I’m not sure that anyone has come to Christ because of me through this, but I am allowing God to use my hurt and pain for His good which has allowed me to heal all the more. It’s not always possible to see while you’re in the thick of it, but if you can allow God to take your pain and use it, He will use it for His good!

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