On November 4, 2020, in the middle of the night, my wife of fifty-six years died. She often experienced insomnia and would get up during the night to read and take some sleepy-time tea.
We were all packed and ready to go on a trip to visit our family, the Creation Museum, and The Ark Experience. However, I know her soul went on a much better trip.
Here’s how I figure it must have happened. She must have gone out of our condo’s bedroom and rounded the corner next to the open staircase in order to go to the living room on the other side of our condo stairs that descent to the basement.
Somehow, she lost her balance, took out three spindles above the right-side of the stairs, and fell headlong to her death.
Needless to say, I was shocked to find her the next morning at the bottom of the steps! When I saw her body, I shouted, “Winnie! Winnie!” I sensed that she might be dead when there was no response at all.
Now, you have to understand that I’m the one in our marriage with balance problems, not Winnie.
Therefore, here I am alone on Christmas Eve missing her company. Someone might ask me how I can deal with such a shocking loss of my close companion.
My answer takes me back twenty-one years during the late winter of 1999, after we had moved to Saskatoon, Canada. Then, I had a strong premonition that Winnie was going to die before I did. We had nothing in our situation that would cause such a feeling. Nevertheless, I felt it.
How does one deal with such an experience? Well, God had enabled me to deal with other emotional struggles previously by unloading my emotional baggage on him in prayer, the same way biblical people like Job, David, and Jeremiah did. This prayer pattern called lamenting isn’t in our culture, but God had taught it to me through his Word, the Bible.
Well, I told God that I didn’t want her to die first because it would be easier for her if I died first and because men usually do. I persisted in many prayers expressing my anger that he would allow it to happen, as I had done previously, until God gave me his permanent peace to accept his will.
Don’t get me wrong. God doesn’t cause the death of anyone; we humans have brought sickness and death on ourselves through our rebellion against God. He allows death in order to be honored in people’s lives.
God’s peace has persisted through all these years. In fact, I would wonder occasionally whether she would be in an accident with our car when she would do errands, but I never dreamed that she would die by falling down our stairs!
God, through his peace, has enabled me to be clear-eyed, accepting, and reasonable through the funeral arrangements, my eulogy at her funeral, at her graveside, and during the huge adjustment her death brings.
I haven’t shed any tears because I gave God torrents of them twenty-one years ago!