And, as always, God has dropped thoughts and reminders in my mind that would turn out to be significant and give us the hand holds we need to get through it.
One of the hallmarks of the last couple of months has been bear hugs and offers of practical help around the house. I don’t think I’ve ever stopped and taken stock before of how many incredible men there are in my life. Before that gives out the wrong impression of me ;) it has reminded me over and over again of what an amazing man my husband was.
So many of my female friends have given tribute to him that he was a great guy to be around. He was fiercely protective of all the women in his life, from relatives to teenagers in the youth group. I remember years ago at a camp he saw a guy from another youth group pick up one of our girls and throw her in the pool. Richard was over there so fast, and without touching the guy or saying a word, he left that guy in no doubt that he was no longer welcome on our patch of turf, and he scarpered in a trail of dust.
Because we were the first in our age group to get married, as each of my friends brought new boyfriends from uni or other youth groups over to meet us, it became almost an unspoken expectation that these guys had to pass the Richard test. If they had a great sense of humour, and treated their woman with respect, and had a good attitude to work and responsibility, those guys seemed to stick around and would eventually become the husbands to our friends. As for the guys who were clearly only into themselves, or were overly flirtatious with other women, or had no drive when it came to building a future - well, somehow those guys always seemed to disappear. (I mean, I’m pretty sure they’re still accounted for, even if several of them have moved far away to other countries by now, but I’d rather not ask too many questions.)
The same was true of Richard’s friends - he was always much quicker to make friends than I am, and so most of our close friends consist of really really good guys who are leading their families well. When Richard discovered great books on manhood or preachers who gave a great perspective on building accountability to keep your marriage pure, he shared them with every guy he knew, and we saw some dramatic changes in some guys as a result of this.
So right now, even though he is gone, I am left with Richard’s legacy of good guys. From friends to brothers-in-law to guys at church, me and my kids are surrounded by great guys, who are fiercely protective and respectful of me, just like Richard was. For every potential problem in my house or car or financial situation, there is someone I can think of who I can ask to help us out. For every hobby or infatuation (good or bad) my kids are likely to be into in the future, I can think of people they can talk to about it, who will be able to guide them through.
It reinforces the thought that keeps going over and over in my mind - that God knew how long Richard was going to be in my life for, and that I would need him every day during that time, and that when that time was over, He would find another way of providing for those needs. Every single one of them. I hate the thought that I don’t need Richard any more. Right now I’m at the stage where I feel like my inside are being scooped out every day because I miss him so much and I feel like I desperately need him - even to text him to let him know how great these guys he inadvertently placed around me are doing at looking after us - but I know that no matter how I feel, this is the truth. Everything I need is now going to come from other sources, and God has it all covered.
So me and the kids sat down tonight and instead of writing out one Father’s Day card, we wrote out eighteen of them. For granddads and uncles and friends who are doing life with us right now, to thank them and let them know we see how important they are going to be to our family’s future. How many people get to do that? We are blessed indeed, and will have a very happy Father’s Day.