This picture reminds me of just how sweet our love was, how I adored her and she me. It causes me to really think back and consider all of the subtleties that comprised that hug. How she hugged so tight and said, “I love you so much” or “you are the most handsome man in the world”. I remember that she was in a lot of pain but at the same time was so happy to get these pictures taken. I remember how she smelled and what it felt like to hold her. It has been a long time since I looked deeply into her eyes or even thought about that wonderful part of our communication. There was so much said without words as we just gazed into each other’s eyes. She would look up at me and I would look down at her almost looking straight through her. The product of 25 years of intentional relationship building through the fiery crucible of life was a closeness that most people will never experience. I spent my entire adult life counting the number of years Pam and I were married and celebrating each anniversary. Every year brought a deeper love and sweeter communication. I continue to count today, only this time I am counting the time since Pam left. Instead of celebrating new levels of intimacy I am marking the passing of time that robs me of the details of my memories of her. She gets further and further away from me with every month that passes. The full reality of my life without her becomes clearer with every day. So I have a decision to make. I want to feel sorry for myself and fight the loss and point to what everyone else has that I don’t. I would never say these things but deep down inside it is easy to think; why me? It isn’t fair! The truth is that the magnitude and difficulty of my loss is in direct correlation to the generosity of God’s perfect gift to me in Pam. God blessed me with the perfect mate for me in Pam. Now what? She’s gone. Yes, she’s gone, but the God that created her for me isn’t. The rest of my life may be difficult, alone and less fun, but, this life is not the end. God has not promised me my best life now. He may want me to walk a path like Jesus or Paul. My focus is one of thankfulness for God’s unbelievable blessings to me and His never failing faithfulness. In the darkest times of despair, He is there. In the frustration of disappointment and hopelessness He is there. Instead of focusing on the loss, I focus on the reality of what is store for me. I will live with Him, I will reign with Him, forever. I will see Him as he is. Oh and I will see my sweetheart again. I spent a few hours last night watching home movies. She was so beautiful, caring, giving and fun. She was almost too good to be true and God made her for me. He must really love me. I can’t wait to be with Him. As I uncover new things that remind me of her like this morning when I lifted up the treadmill and there were her running shoes, this week finding another page of detailed notes. There are so many reminders of her every day that it would be easy to focus on the loss. But then I am reminded of how she handled life with such common sense, such pragmatism. She didn’t even understand going to the cemetery because nobody is there. I can hear her voice saying, “what are you sad about? We are going to be together with Jesus forever”, “Our separation is just for a short period of time”, “focus on the big picture!” When I start dwelling on the bad and feeling sorry for myself her voice is loud and clear, “Seriously Thomas!” To which I reply, “Yes, seriously, it has been even more difficult this last month to do life without you”. That’s just real. What is equally as real is that if I focus on the fact that Jesus is with me step by step I am encouraged because He never leaves me to grieve alone and He has my future secure, a future with Him and with Pam. That is something to look forward to. I can’t wait to hug her again but until that day, Jesus is more than enough for today, He is the joy of my life.