Two voices clamor through the cloud of grief. One still believes that by some miraculous intervention of God, life might yet return to normal; the other voice replies that everything has been irrevocably changed forever. The road to recovery opens only after these two voices can be reconciled.
For me, as for everyone, that road to recovery wound through a landscape of regret. Reflecting on the years Mary and I had together, I mourned the time we had wasted on silly disagreements and lamented that I had spent too much time at work, leaving the task of raising our children to my wife. I sorrowed that I had, indeed, taken Mary and our life together for granted.
On my path through the pain, I read several books on grief, determined to understand what grief was, why we grieve, and how to recover. I also joined a grief recovery group at our church; I highly recommend such support to anyone who
has lost a loved one.
Healing came in other ways as well. In the fall after Mary’s death, my cousin joined me for two days of hiking in Utah’s Zion Canyon. I once again experienced the soothing and healing power of nature. I realized how helpful it was to discuss my feelings of loss and regret with another male and to trust another person with my thoughts and feelings. As I worked my way up the narrow but exhilarating Angels Landing Trail, I reflected on my marriage and how easily I had slipped into taking my wife for granted. I wondered how I would have been different as a husband if I had known that our days together would be over too soon.
On the flight home, I considered the balm brought by just two days of hiking and wondered if a much longer hike might translate into continued healing. And I wanted to somehow link such a hike to my new message for men: don’t take your spouse and family for granted.
The plan was starting to take root.
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