What do you call yourself?

Written by Louise Tucker Jones in the May 2020 Issue

In the Old Testament book of Ruth, in the Bible, there is a character named Naomi. Upon losing both her sons and her husband, she returned to her home village and asked friends to no longer call her Naomi, but to call her “Mara,” meaning “bitter.” 

I understand that. I have also lost two children and a grandchild to death as well as my husband of 45 years. I carried the names, “Bitter,” “Sad,” “Angry,” “Lonely,” and more before finding peace. I have yelled at God and asked the “Why” question and cried more tears than
I thought possible. Death is seldom expected. It comes by surprise and the shock of the loss leaves you wondering if life can ever go on. 

This month of May marks nine years without my late husband, Carl. Just like my love for him, my mourning has been deep, but my faith in God even deeper. And though I could list a thousand things that caused tears and heartache, I could list even more memories of the life we shared if you had the patience to sit and listen. 

So I now have nine years of new memories. Some absolutely wonderful, yet some still heart-rending. First birthday without him. First anniversary. First Christmas. The “first” of many things. There will never be a day that
I don’t think of Carl, and that’s okay. Our loved ones are tucked safely in our hearts forever. They make heaven a happier place. And as life moves forward, we rest in those memories as God heals our broken hearts.

And like Naomi, who by the end of the book of Ruth found reason to rejoice, I also have found joy in life with my children, grandchildren, friends and family. I still miss my loved ones in heaven, especially my late husband on this 9th anniversary of his transition to glory, but I cherish our 45 years together. We loved each other well. In fact, I could say Carl loved me fiercely.

So if I should take on a new name, as Naomi did, I think I would call myself “Blessed.” 

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