I have found the One Whom My Soul Loves – Song of Solomon 3:4

A year ago today at around 12:30 am my husband John took his last breath.  The boys and I spent the day with him.  One of us on each side of the bed and one at his feet.  The boys decided to head home and I would leave around 11:45 pm.  I crawled into bed and within minutes the phone rang.  We found ourselves shuffling into the Jeep and back to hospice.  By the time we arrived in the room, John had passed.  Born on his father’s birthday and passing on his mothers.  Somewhat beautiful and poetic if you ask me.

John Anthony Metzger is the love of my life 💙.  I find myself wondering how a year goes by so fast?  It’s hard to believe he is gone.  I guess it’s just how we rolled.  We met on June 13th, 1994.  I moved in with him in August, pregnant in December, married April 8th, 1995 and gave birth to my son, Johnny, September 15th.  It was a whirlwind for sure.  Never was I unsure or question the possibility of US.  It always just felt right.

I can’t say my faith was strong at the time.  Matter of fact I had was coming out of my twenties wondering if God even existed.  One day John and I were sitting in a Catholic Church for the first time together.  I was pregnant, and he had just lost his Uncle Lee.  I was not Catholic, so I could not partake in the Eucharist.  John walked forward and came back to the pew and handed me the host.  He said, “Here take this for our baby.”   I was taken back by the thoughtfulness of the gesture, and of course, I accepted.

With each passing day, John and I shared our lives, my faith grew.  I wanted to know more about God and how placing my trust in something I could not touch or see would change my life.  In the same way, I put my life into John’s hands. I gave my life to Christ, and I let them both begin to do their work.  Of course, John never looked at it that way.  John didn’t attend church but often prayed when he was alone.  He always told me he had enough church as a child by attending eight years of a Catholic school.

John’s love and support allowed me to be open to the possibility God could take away my pain and replace it with love.  I attended RCIA, converted to the Catholic Church, and began to get involved in any way I could.  I read books, went to events and began a journey of servant leadership.  I volunteered and gave back as much as I could.  We were living paycheck to paycheck, and therefore I had no funds to donate to a cause.  Instead, I would find ways to give of my time — all of this is healing in its own way.

In times when I struggled with anger and resentment, John gave me a safe place to work through it.  He never judged my past only wanted the best for me moving forward.  He just loved me through it all.  Before I knew it my heart had changed.  Of course, it took years, as healing often does.  When I begin writing in 2008 I noticed it even more.

Through all of our struggles, John continued to love me.  I can’t say I loved him back as perfectly as he loved me. Matter of fact there were times I wanted to throw in the towel, but his steadfast love held me in place.  I often see it as God’s way of working through John to let me know he is there.

When I think about all of this now, it brings tears to my eyes wondering how will I ever continue to love when my foundation has shifted and cracked?  The tears I cry for John are not tears that fall from my eyes and cover my face; they are tears falling from my heart and are watering my soul.

My loss is like winter.  Cold, dark and disrobed, but not dead. Feeling motionless as my roots are waiting to grow again.  There is not much I can do during this season, but rest.  I have rested and learned to be kind to myself now and for many seasons to come.  I understand just because I am struggling does not mean I am failing.  I am prospering even though it looks as if I am barren.

As I am planted in the stream of the tears I cry for John; they continue to water my soul; I am growing stronger.  I am surrendering the pain, and I am open to receive all that God intends for me.  I am ready to spring forward, and I am starting to feel Joy and Love.  I feel hopeful.  My 🌞 Sun is beginning to shine again because John would have not wanted it any other way.  He loved my determination, energy, “a bull in a china shop” mentality.  He loved more about me than I loved about myself.  He taught me I was worthy of love.  He taught me to love others even when they can’t love you back.

Over the twenty-three years, I was privileged to be married to such a wonderful man; I saw God in John all the time (even though he would tell you I was crazy for saying that).  I continue to see God in the people who cross my path.  I continue to believe God is working in me.  I also have faith John and God will never leave my side.

I miss my husband every day of my life and I always will.  I still find it hard to look at pictures and videos but there is one I do look at if I need to remember how much he loved me.  I am sharing this with you below.  I can not express enough (or maybe I do, lol) how much he changed my life.  I will always try to do my best to give LOVE to everyone who crosses my path because of how he loved me.

I want to leave you with this.  If you have experienced loss my heart breaks for you, prays for you, and loves you.  It helps to find people who have gone through your experience.  They have been my saving grace.  Remember to give yourself time.  Learn to be kind to yourself.  And never worry the sun always finds its way through the clouds and so will you.  Your Sun Will Shine Again, I promise!

Luv, Luv,

Julie 💙