I once travelled happily alone. Then the most beautiful thing happened and suddenly I was half of two; two became one. But before I could start to document our life together, his life was tragically gone. My darling Ems is now in the bright lights of Heaven and I remain. This is the story of my journey from here. Gratefully a journey that One whose ways are above all of ours takes with me. One day I'll reach those bright lights for myself but until I do, join me on my journey, keeping memories close.

Saturday, 9 October 2010


I am aching incredibly right now. Just over 10 months ago I never wanted to be normal. Just over 10 months ago I wanted to go against the flow, to make a difference.

Right now in this moment, I would give anything be 'normal'.

I don't even know what 'normal' is and am pretty sure no such thing exists but I want to stop this rollercoaster that keeps speeding round; that just when I think I'm starting to climb, I'm suddenly hurtling down with uncontrollable speed.

I do still yearn to make a difference. And to make a difference, we have to be different. No one ever changed the world by being like it after all. 

I am grateful that my mind is continuously aware of a bigger picture that I can't yet see. Nothing like tragedy can make you so acutely sensitive to how truly fragile life truly is; to how little control we really have. I don't want to be complacent; I don't want to be so at ease with what's around me that I forget that there is more: More to life, more to give, more to receive.

But I am also human. I am fragile. I am easily thrust into moments that leave me crying out for 'normality'.

Sometimes when I am alone I can begin to think that this...that this is normal! I pop to our house to check the post as though everyone has a home they don't live in right now. I smile at memories or photos as though that is the way every 27 year old thinks on their spouse.

And then suddenly there I am, taking a call outside church from friends with good news, and suddenly I'm all too aware that I'm standing in the graveyard where my husband's body lies. And in moments like that I know this isn't how it was meant to be. For a moment I want to be someone in hope of sharing such news myself one day or of turning to my husband to share the good news I've just heard, rather than knowing that I will never be that person.

And even though it hurts, I still know that all I am called to be is me. This is the lot I've been assigned. 11 months ago, I thought it was the most beautiful lot imaginable. When I look forward, I know it is going to be even more beautiful. So right now, I have to just be.

I may want to be 'normal' but I have to be me.

And it's ok for me to get lost in thinking that my situation is normal sometimes. I have to run the race without looking to the right or the left, without looking at those around me. I may have lost the thing most dear to me but if I keep focusing on the goal ahead, I can still win my race. When I stop comparing myself to others, I don't think about normal, about what I don't have. And if I really think about it, even though I'd do anything to have Ems here to live our lives out together as was normal to us; looking back I know that we had so much, so much more than 'normal'. Looking ahead, I know that just as our story together way exceeded anything I could have imagined, I'll one day have way beyond it. It's just right now that hurts so much. And 'right now' will one day be history. Oh help me to realise that. One day at a time.

My heart breaking for 'normality' feels a little foolish considering this poem I wrote this morning.

I would rather be me

Despite the pain,
I would rather be me.
Despite the fact that you're not here,
I would rather be me.

I would rather be me
with all my battles,
all my wounds.

With all my memories.
With all the love I have for you in my heart.
With your love's fingerprints tattooed upon my soul.

Others' climbs may seem less steep, their roads more smooth,
their hearts less scarred, their hands more full.
But I would rather be me,
empty handed,
with memories of holding your sweet hand,
than to be another that had never felt your touch.

I would rather be me,
grief my constant companion
and my heart bursting with the love you lavished upon me,
than to take the burden of being another.

Oh, I don't recommend that any other be me right now.
But I wouldn't have wanted to be any other back then.
I won't want to be any other when I join you in endless light.
And so it is.
Past beauty.
Future gain.
I can't want to be anyone else in this present.

For your love is ever with me,
and though I walk the shady valley of death,
the same light that shined for us, shines for me,
and the light always wins.

I would rather be your me.


  1. The desire to be "normal", to have our lives back is so strong at times. Keep looking forward as best you can. Heaven is close.

    I saw a pastor illustrate the brevity of our lifetimes with a long rope. He marked off a small section of the rope with some red tape. That was to indicate our lifetimes here on Earth. The rest of the rope stretched off the platform and disappeared out the door of the auditorium. That part of the rope represented Eternity. I think on that illustration often to remind myself that this life is so short, and we will enjoy our reunion with our husbands and other believers forever. I'm living for forever.

  2. Your poem is beautiful and so very touching.

    I'm not sure that there is such a thing as a one-size-fits-all, standard "normal", either. I think everyone is different and, therefore, it follows that each of us has their own "normal". What one person would view as horrific and anything but normal, another may simply accept as being their lot and, therefore, "normal". I know sometimes we all strive for that elusive normalcy but what we're probably really saying is, I don't like/can't cope with/hate where I am right now, and want this to change or this feeling to go away.

    I haven't been reading your blog for that long but I think you are already making a difference - to everyone who stops here and reads your posts.

    I wish I could say or do something to ease the ache but I suspect my words and actions would fall far short.

  3. This is really sad. I am editing a memoir by a woman who lost her husband after just a few months of marriage. She is also starting a blog. I'll tell her about yours.

    (I'm visiting from Kath's Welsh party)

  4. I have walked in your shoes - a life time ago. It is definitely better to have had love and lost it than never to have it at all. There is nothing anyone can say, all words are empty. But I can see you have inner strength and strength born from your love. You will survive and thrive.

    I have come to say hi from Kath's party.

  5. Hi Ruthie,
    I came across your blog while visiting Kath's blog party. I don't know why I felt compelled to visit your blog. And when I did, I couldn't stop reading. I admire your strength and faith at such a young age. I'm sorry your beloved Ems is not physically here, but it's obvious he's with you in spirit. A friend of mine is mourning the death of her mother. I sent her your link. I think she'll find some comfort and strength reading your blog. Your poem is so beautiful, yet poignant. I'm really in awe of your beautiful and resilient spirit. May the light always shine on you.
    Warm regards,
    Montreal, QC, Canada

  6. Thank you all for your comments and encouragement.

    It is the old 'normal' that I often yearn for, discontent with my new; But something I know cannot be, and for good reason, even if I cannot see why myself yet.

    Thank you all for taking the time to read and to comment. I hope this blog can bring hope and strength to those you are passing it on to.

    Lins Lleisio, I am deeply sorry that you too have had to travel this path. It is definitely better to have loved and lost. Not easier. Not pain free. Not without challenge. But better. I wouldn't have passed on it for the world.

    Love to you all & God bless xx

    P.S. Thank you Kath for hosting the party and enabling new connections!

  7. That is a beautiful poem Ruth.
    I know a song by a lady called "Shell Perris"...it is called..."made to be me" and when I read your poem it came to mind.
    There is also a song called "nothings gonna stop the rain" by the same artist and these songs are so meaningful and lovely; I just thought I'd mention it.

    "come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29"

    God Bless Ruth.
    Love Phoebe. xXx