Brian Harrell   -  

For the first time I had to click the box on the form that said “widowed.”

Married couples sometimes talk about who will be the first one to die. I always wanted my wife to die first so that I could take care of her. I always wanted her to be safe and secure and not have to face catastrophic loss.

I always thought that I would be able to handle it better than her.

Now I’m not so sure.

What’s it like after sharing 44 years of love, children, intimacy, ministry and experiences of every kind? It’s weird.

It’s weird thinking “I have to tell Nancy about this when I get home” and then realizing she won’t be there.

It’s weird thinking that somehow she’s just gone away on an extended trip and will be back soon even though I know she won’t.

It’s weird sleeping on the same side of the bed but there is no one beside me.

The silence in the house is weird.

The empty refrigerator is weird.

Knowing you will never have her spaghetti again is weird.

The people in my life have been great. The most common thing I hear is, “we are here for you and if there’s anything you need, let us know.” But what I need is her warm body next to me.

And the way that she grabbed my hand when we walked.

And kisses.

And all the ways she put me on a pedestal.

And just her presence.

And something else that I need is to tell her again “I love you.”

Why is it that when someone is taken from you the intensity of love is amplified? I now know that I must communicate my love all the time. Why didn’t I know that before?

Yes, I had the check the box that said “widowed.”

That is my new reality.