Where do I begin? Six years ago I woke up a wife and when I finally dropped into bed 23 hours later, it was as a widow. I was 28, pregnant and mother to a toddler. My husband had been perfectly healthy--his death was due to a tire blow-out while a passenger in a friend's van. I will not dwell on that night in detail, though I can remember it all so clearly even now.
Chris was a wonderful boyfriend, then husband, then Dada. One of his goals in life was to spread laughter. I can remember many tense moments that he helped to diffuse with a well-timed joke. He loved to be silly, do funny voices, and play practical jokes.
Although his growing up years had not been the easiest, he was quick to smile, to laugh, to encourage others. He did not let the hard times define him. He was quick to befriend anyone, regardless of social standing, ethnicity, religion, hygiene, age, economic class, etc. He did not hold grudges but was open to forgiving.
It was a joy to see him grow from a teen into a man as I also transformed from girl to woman. He was a hard worker even while in high school--while his grades were not stellar, he kept them above passing, held down jobs, and was involved in sports, art, and theater. He was an active member of his church's youth group, and later, a leader in it.
When we had been married just six months, he lost his grandfather, Gale. We decided then that our first daughter would be named Abigale, though she did not join our family until six years later. Abigale means "father's joy" and our daughter was most certainly a fulfillment of her name.
He and Abbi had the most precious bond, and he took care of even the nastiest parts of baby care (cleaning cloth diapers) with a smile. On nights I was at work he got up with her when she cried, heated up the breastmilk, changed diapers, and bottle fed her. She said "Dada" before "Mama", and at 16 months old *finally* began to walk independently. She waved bye-bye and told him "Luzhatoo" (Love you, too), the last time we saw him alive. He was so excited about the new baby on the way and hoped she would be a girl. (She was).
We traveled together (be it Zimbabwe or Idaho), we served in church ministry, we cleaned our home and cooked side by side, played hours of board games and video games with our friends... we were such a team. He supported my dreams and I supported his. We were married in college and there was so much shuffling and sacrifice on both our parts for the other.
Marriage and children are a blessing from the Lord... and my life with Chris, though it had its ups and downs, was a HUGE blessing. We were just two imperfect people bonded together under God's favor.
I miss him. I love him still. Today, I try to focus on the good that came from knowing him rather than the pain of the unexpected goodbye.