I don’t know how other people do this, this thing that happens when someone who was more than half of who you are is gone, in the blink of an eye. How to survive when more than half of you for the last half-century is no longer there with no preparation for her departure? Maybe all couples who are soul mates need to have a special course for when this kind of sudden blow to your solar plexus occurs. I am having to redefine what it means to be living. I suppose people who lose limbs, who suffer paralysis, or other huge changes to their daily routine have to constantly redefine what living means to them. All of the things that I counted upon, that I anticipated eagerly, that made every day special, that made every day significant—all those are gone, forever. I’m thinking that people who like themselves a whole lot more than I like myself can do this more easily. Those of us whose self-esteem is just a few micro millimeters thin and who rely on those who love us to keep our heads up out of the swamp—we’re gonna have trouble. For decades, my mantra was whatever God wants of us, we can do it if we do it together. You see the problem, there is no more together, there is only me. If I was younger, if I was in good physical shape, if I was nice looking, if I had money . . . alas none of these are true—it is the opposite. Alone, old, fat, ugly, in bad physical shape, in a foreign country, with no family or friends nearby and who has one family member immediately dependent on him, what to do? I used to work suicide hot lines and if someone had called in with this scenario, I would have had nothing to say, no help available. Yet, there must be. God would not abandon me, would not take my raison d’etre without some other plan in mind. Would He? I’m guessing not. I’m also guessing that God wants more out of me or I would have died with her. I’ve been so close to death so many times in my life that I’m convinced there is something still to come. Wish I knew what it was, though. Wish I knew why I stay and suffer when my beloved is at peace and surrounded with love and joy. There is a mantra from several recovery programs that is just this: “One day at a time.” No one can really do more than that, can they? You can plan for more, but you must live just the one day at a time. And . . . and, what do you think God has in store for me? In 2002, I had been to the Peruvian Amazon three times, once as a team member, once to lead a team to build a church, and once just by myself with my youngest son. Thought that’s where I was headed, and Africa wasn’t even on the horizon, but here I am. True, Karen led me here, and Karen said we’d be here the rest of our lives (true for her), and I think true for me. You gotta be thinking that God has some grand and wonderful need for me to be here. I may never know in what way I fit into God’s Great Africa Plan, but I do know that I will be here and obedient and available.
With the support of your prayers and your united hearts, I will continue to do whatever is needed for the rest of my life, however long God decides that will be. I can do no other if I really loved her, and I think you know that I did.