God Provides

Learning that God Provides even after Tragedy

Pretty Darn Good Date

April 25th was a pretty good day. Last year it was amazing. We finally went to spend the day fishing, which had been his goal for a long time. It was kinda the first of a month of things that now feel like his farewell tour. We did so many things, I’m so grateful we did, because if we hadn’t  it would add to the weight of his loss. 

And today, despite the fact that Zoya has kinda decided not to sleep or nap the past few days. and I’m not sleeping well either, God has started to challenge me in a way that is giving me hope and strength. 

The book on reading is hard. I’d never recommend it to someone in the first months of widowhood. I’ve started and stopped it too many times to count. But today, in small doses, it was full of good challenging truth. 

A friend took Zoya this evening I had an amazing time alone, with Shah and my favorite thing ever besides Zoya…  sushi!!


OK, well this is new. I’m excited. 

I’ve anticipated a few things since my husband died, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve been excited. 

And my daughter seems to be excited as well. She insisted on sleeping in the adorable bathing suit her aunt gave her tonight. 

I’ve actually started gathering things to pack. I remember packing early for my trips to visit Shah in Istanbul and some of our big trips, but since he died I can barely remember pack more than a minute before I leave and I’m not sure I’ve packed for Zoya all year. My sister does that for me. I don’t get around to it. 

But today, while I’m feeling such pain and confusion over his death, I’m at the same time very excited to take this little girl to Florida for some time in the pool. 

I love it when I read something from a fellow griever who can explain grief well, because it’s not sure hard to put into words, it’s even hard to put into thought. 

I can be excited about a weekend vacation and at the same time be in such pain that I can’t breathe without shaking. 

I can not think of anything I want other than for this not to have happened, and at the same be so grateful for all that has happened since he died. 

It ups and downs, waves of sadness comes and goes. But overtime, there are more and more times when the deepest sadness and joy exist at the same time, in equal measures. And the head gets so confused. And the soul knows it needs to rest. 

What Will My Life Look Like

It feels like it’s almost time to make some decision and goals. I was told not to make any major changes I the first year after a loss, and I think that was good advice. It is way too easy to make a decision in a high moment that will not work during a wave of grief, or a decision during a waive of pain that doesn’t bring the healing you expect. 

I have about six weeks more weeks til the one year anniversary. I know, despite some good times, all the anniversaries in May are going to be incredibly hard. I actually wouldn’t make a major decision right now, but I don’t think it’s bad to start thinking a bit. 

I loved planning life with Shah. We prioritized well at home and eating out less, but also eating well when we did eat out. Prior to that I’d been a cheapest thing on the menu, but nearly nightly eating out, kinda girl. We/he wanted a constantly clean house and kitchen. Travel was always a priority. Socializing outside the home was a rare thing.  Lagunage learning was a priority.  Help others was as natural to him as breathing. 

I loved our life as a family of three, but now we are a family of two, with one adult and a toddler. There are parts of us that I want to keep, but parts that need to change. Being social outside the house needs to be a much bigger priority. That’s really a change I’ve already slowly made, but it still needs some thought. Food is still in survival mode, but it will soon be time to figure out our new food values. 

I want cultures, language, and travel remain priorities. We’ve met some new Iranians who are stretching my language skills, and it’s been great to reconnect with that culture. But travel just hasn’t really happened since Shah died. We took a work trip to D.C. and drove to Savannah and St Pete. That was wonderful, but wasn’t the kind of travel and exploring that Shah and I liked to do. I recently found the three goals for our family that Shah wrote down in premarital counseling, and one of them was lots of travel with children as a family. 

I want Zoya to be my travel buddy. The only way I’m going to be able to visit the places Shah really wanted to go is if I am showing them to Zoya. So with that in mind, I just booked a test flight to Orlando. Zoya and mama are going on an airplane.  Ariel took her to the airport lobby last week and she loved it. It’s the last weekend Zoya can fly for free. Shah and I planned to take a lot of trips this year to take advantage of free lap seats. It didn’t happen. But I’m going to get one in and it’s a good thing she likes this butterfly and it’s tail. 

I’m prepared for it to be an exhausting disaster, but at least I’ll have done it and we can always try again next year. 

And That’s All I Can Do

I knew today was going to be a loaded day when I finally reconnected his number to a phone last night and had 15 voice messages, many from the night he was killed. 

So I made a priority list for work, got it done, and quit. I love my job but there is never an obvious stopping point. But I know myself, and there is only so far I can push myself right now. 

So I made a plan for some fun with a friend this afternoon. Play dates have opened up a whole new world of activities and friendships that are a lifeline right now. 

And then I did it. I listened to the messages that thankfully were almost all hang ups and I logged into his Lyft account and I got his tax information. 

And I have nothing left. 

I have 10 minutes to sit alone in the dark in my room and then I’ll get Zoya back and go through some motions. 

The day isn’t done though. I still have to go through his closet and get pack some of his stuff. 
I’m just done. Functioning is dropping to zero. I’m glad these times come in waves. I still feel like I’m trying to function while being half a person. I miss him. 

Learning to Live in the Easter Season

Learning to live in the Easter season has been a new step.  There is no pause from the grieving.  I have been crying daily for almost 11 months.  But parallel to that part of this process, I am still living and filled with joy and even happiness much of the time.

The focus of Easter, the resurrection, has brought me to a new stage of this journey.  The timing could not have been more potent.  I was able to visit Shah’s headstone on Good Friday.  Seeing it brought me to a new place of understanding the reality of Shah’s death.  Every time I think the truth of what happened has finally sunk in, something else happen to make me realize the truth that he is gone has not fully hit.  And so on Good Friday, I sat at the cemetery and just let the finality sink in. Zoya’s daddy is not coming back.  He will never walk through the door again. She is grasping that, and so am I, just very slowly.

But Good Friday isn’t the end of the story and this is not the end of Shah’s story.  Easter isn’t just an idea or a season of new life, like spring time.  On Easter we celebrate a very real resurrection.  Easter is about someone who was really dead, all the way dead, stone and all, coming back to life.  Death wasn’t the end of Jesus story, and death isn’t the end of Shah’s story.  

I used to strive to keep the reality of another world in my mind.  Now it is just about all I think about.  

Few who study history question if the man named Jesus ever lived.  The real question is did he live again after he died.  Twelve men who knew him best were so convinced that he rose again that they suffered and most died for that belief.  Their actions make me rest more and more in the truth of the resurrection. 

I still have any questions that I’m wrestling with.  Why didn’t that death and resurrection bring about a new heaven and new earth right away? Why is the world so evil and broken still? If Satan was defeated, why does the world look like this?  

There is a part of me that is still in all out war, wresting with these questions; but with the truth of the resurrection, I am learning to rest in peace.  

God only gave me 3 years with him and my heart is broken with pain and disappointment, and I sit with a longing to join Shah that does not lessen with time.  But I also sit in peace, filled with hope in a restored world and a resurrected reunion.

Full of Beauty

Today was full of beauty and we were able to enjoy it because of the hope that because of the resurrection, somehow it will all be okay. I miss him terribly, but Zoya and I have had some special times this weekend. Pretty dresses and shared can flight bubble baths, helped us smile and laugh together. She enjoyed a good nap and I enjoyed all of the encouraging posts, messages, and sermons about the resurrection. For truly, with it, all things are bareable. Without it, all things are meaningless. 

Easter is Finally Here

I glanced at the clock around 3:00 am and realized it was Easter. Today we celebrate the resurrection that finally came, after the trauma of the death and the emptiness of Saturday, Sunday finally arrives. 

My first thought was, Easter came and someday, I’ll wake up just the same and it will be the day for our resurrection. Our Saturday will be over. 

Right now I’m struggling through how much or how little changed in this world that spring around 30 AD. Some wrestling matches take more than a day. But I’ll keep searching for answers as I hope that someday there will be a resurrection for all. 

Another Death

Today we remember the anniversary of another death. It’s so different this year. 

I’m still reading the last words of Jesus to his disciples in John 13-17. I’m still going over Shah’s last texts to me.  

The difference is Jesus knew knew he was about to leave. Though not knowing Shah still talked about how much he missed me and baby. 

Jesus warned. He talked about grieving and mourning for a while, but later being filled with joy when he returned. And they were filled with joy in the coming weeks and months. 

Sometimes it makes me angry that they only had to be separated for three days, and for me, it’s almost been a year. I just want to yell, “IT’NOT THE SAME.”  

But if Shah is with Jesus now, maybe it is the same now. The disciples certainly faced many trials and persecution, and they they didn’t not grieve after Christ returned to heaven. 

Sitting with death. Rejoicing with HOPE. I’m going to a cemetery. 

“Daddy All Gone”

Zoya has been talking non-stop recently. Everyday she seems to have 20 new words. I know she’s been trying to talk about her Daddy, but doesn’t have all the words. 

Last week I started telling her what happened. I always talk about him. We hug and kiss his pictures and talk about things he did and how much we love him.  But I knew she wanted more so while we had a quiet moment in the chair a little over a week ago I told her a bad thing happened and his body died, but his Spirit is alive and with God. I told her a lot more. I’ll tell her anything that is truth. Not the evil details, but the true truth, the spiritual truths. 

And she’s talked about it every day since then. Sometimes just says something about daddy’s body. Sometimes more. 

Tonight while we were getting ready for bed she brought him up again. And we talked about it all again. It’s so hard to know what to say, but I try to chose my words carefully and speak true sentences. (Especially since I slipped up and told her the balloon was going up to daddy because she is still talking about that). So we talked again and then I thought we were done and she picked up her head, laid it on my face and said, “I miss Daddy.”  And soon thereafter, “Daddy all gone.”

It was the last words that broke my heart. Until now, I think she’s mostly been just confused. She still sees him in photos and hasn’t quite grasped it. It’s hard to talk about the future with an almost two year old. In our first conversation I said something about the resurrection and she got very excited. How can I talk about something a long long time from now, that I hope is really soon?  And yet, that was the whole purpose of Christ coming, so how can I leave that out?  

She doesn’t have to know everything today, but what order should I teach her, and why am I having this conversation with a child that isn’t yet two?  

I always go back to Daddy loves us and we love Daddy. But that’s not the part she wants to know right now. Right now she’s just processing the reality that Daddy is gone. I can’t talk about spirits and bodies till the cows come home, but she can’t understand that. But just talking to her, carefully choosing my words because I know her childlike faith will believe perfectly. 

I’m just processing the reality. The headstone was set this week. I don’t think I believed he was gone until I saw it. How can she understand, when none of us can?  Death wasn’t meant to be. And someday it will be no more. 

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