Our lives were forever changed the day we lost Corey. He was an amazing man who loved the Lord and his family with all that he was. The pain of losing him is like no other. Our only comfort comes from knowing we will see him again someday.

I have moved the slideshow played at Corey's service to it's own post page above, titled "Corey's Memorial Service - August 10, 2010"

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Monday, August 5, 2013

3 years without you...through love and grief

     Three years ago today. I think that will continue to be the hardest thing each year on August 5th...the thought of another year of time separating Corey from our lives and the fact that memories do fade.
     New beginnings just 3 months ago...a new husband from the hand of God...a page has turned in this world (song title that was sung at our wedding)...I have so much to be thankful for, and I am. But, I will never be the same or look at life the same having experienced this pain called grief.  People who have lost someone so close to their heart tell me the pain will never go completely away...even after a remarriage, and I would expect that would be the case. So, even 3 years out and with the start of a new chapter in my life, the grief still rears its ugly head at times - at times. Thankfully, the grief swells come with less frequency as the days and now years pass, but when they do come the pain still puts a physical ache in my chest that feels as painful as it did in the early days of my grief journey.
     In my days dating Kevin, as I contemplated a future with him, a friend helped me gain a different perspective on Corey's death as it pertained to Abi and Ali's loss of their daddy and the thought of a new man coming into that role in their lives.  She said how blessed they are to not just have had one earthly daddy who really loves them but to have the blessing of 2. So many people don't even get the chance to have one loving relationship with their father and my girls get to experience the love of two in their lifetime. So that is also how I choose to look at my marriages...both huge blessings that God is using to enrich my life. Some people don't even get the opportunity to experience one loving and satisfying marriage and I'm getting the opportunity twice. Of course, I wouldn't have asked for Corey's death, for his pain, and the pain that has come with losing him but since this is the hand I've been dealt I will continue to trust that God is working all things in my life together for my good, not my harm...to give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
     I've joked with many of you that I met Kevin because God dropped him on my roof..I'll explain more about that in a minute but first a little background info.  In the spring following Corey's passing I made the decision to have the 2nd level of our home (previously just open attic space) finished. After speaking with multiple contractors I made my choice. Kevin, one of the crew's carpenters, walked up my driveway the first day of the job and put his hand out to shake mine as we said hello and exchanged names. Over the following days and weeks (he was at our house every day for 3 straight weeks!) several things drew me to Kevin...He reminds me of a character in a children's book (this is a good thing) that I read to the girls called, "The Princess and the Kiss".  It's a story about purity and marriage where the princess struggles to choose a husband from the various suitors who call at the castle - Prince Treasure Chest, Prince Peacock (very proud), and Prince Romance...Seeing what was in their hearts made her turn them all away. This is the description of the one she later chooses to marry: "The next day, a common man came to the castle. He asked to see the princess. The man was dressed in farmers' clothes and did not look like the suitors who had lately come to call. Strong and handsome, his hands were rough from working in the king's fields, and his face was tanned from the sun...kindness was in his manner." Humble is the single best word that comes to my mind to describe this common man. Humility is one of the first things that drew me to Kevin. Kindness is his manner. He has a tender heart but is strong in his convictions. He puts his trust in God and desires to live a life that is pleasing to his Heavenly Father. He is a gentleman who desires to protect and provide for the girls and I. He has a servant's heart and is always looking for ways to help someone out. He is a hard worker, dependable and committed.  He loves my girls, and it is a sweet, genuine love. (And despite still really missing their daddy, they adore Kevin and have a beautiful relationship with him.) Kevin has cried with me in my grief and has supported me in ways that one friend described as divine, in that he was God-sent. I know that most men would not be able to handle coming into my situation and handle it with such grace. He has allowed me the space to grieve and our relationship has given me a nudge on several occasions to move forward in my life and in my healing. I remember making the hard decision that it was time to stop wearing my wedding/engagement rings. It was the day of our first date...just 3 weeks after we had met. God knew the time was right and he helped me take those hard steps of change, time and time again.
    Now, back to the roof...days before our first date, before either of us had expressed interest in the other, Kevin was working up on the back side of my roof. I was sitting on a swing as one of the girls pushed me. I watched him up on a ladder (actually Corey's ladder) taking apart the chimney piping that Corey had put in place a year or two earlier.  (Hard as I tried, I just couldn't make the chimney placement work with the floor plan for the construction project, so I made the decision to remove it altogether along with our wood stove). The image of Corey on that same ladder in that same spot came vividly to my mind. He posed for a picture for me just after he cut the hole in the roof. He was inside the house with his head sticking out. It made for a funny shot that we both laughed about later. He was so pleased with the job he did putting that chimney in himself. I almost started to cry that day sitting there on the swing watching Kevin take it all down and close up the hole Corey had cut.  Little did I know then that God would choose to start using Kevin to patch up and heal the hole, the wound Corey's death had left in my heart.  It was a memorable moment for me when I saw what couldn't be seen by another's eyes - the possibility of what was happening up on my roof that day and in my heart. Having the desire to be married again one day, if that was God's plan for my life, I remember thinking, could he be the one? I'm so glad the answer God gave was yes!



     And so the story of love and grief continues for me and it is so bittersweet...as life goes on, please don't hesitate to share with me the things you remember and/or miss about Corey.  Even though life moves on and I have another love in my life now, it still helps to hear that people love and remember Corey and the wonderful person he was. It helps to hear his name spoken. It's okay if what you say makes me cry...they are healthy healing tears. Feel feel to use Corey's Facebook page to post things/stories you remember about him. There have been a few people who have in the past year and it has really blessed my heart and it's nice for others to be able to share in those memories too.
     I can't recall where, but I copied down this little blurb written to those grieving the loss of a loved one. It has been especially helpful to me (I promise I'll try to find its author) I used brackets to indicate where I added Corey's name or other ideas.

"Take the time to grieve so completely, so fully, that you never have to feel guilty that you didn't; guilty that you let life take over and you 'moved on' too soon. Your grief, and the way you share it, helps us to realize that it's not about the grieving process but rather the person you lost. It's about [Corey]. Your grief [often times seen with tears] reminds us that there was a [Corey - that he lived], and that he is so special and deserves everything you do for him, including grieve, [including sharing memories of him, speaking his name]. If others cannot experience all that [Corey] is by way of him, they can still do it through you. No matter how busy life is, he was here - and no amount of time without him takes away from the beauty of his life."

2 comments:

  1. I'm crying tears as I read this and think about the journey you have been on and how God has surely had his hand in it. Corey will never be forgotten and God has certainly used him to grow and enrich your family's lives and as you travel this next chapter know your being prayed for and loved, thank you for sharing your heart with us and such a beautiful story, truly beauty from ashes...

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  2. So happy for you. Such sorrow mixed with such joy. So glad that God is bringing beauty from the ashes.

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